We’re going to the Supreme Judicial Court! The mission is to refine the statutory meaning of “economic marital partnership” in the context of calculating the duration of alimony, where the divorcing parties cohabited prior to the marriage.
Under the Alimony Reform Act, the duration of alimony payments is determined based on the length of the marriage. Where the parties lived together prior to marrying, however, the court can add to the length of the marriage all or a part of the period of premarital cohabitation, where the court finds that the cohabiting parties engaged in an “economic marital partnership.”
The statute does not say what an economic marital partnership is, and some drafters of the legislation say that the provision was intended to benefit same-sex couples who might have lived together as spouses in all but name for a long time before they were able to marry formally. The SJC first looked at the question two years ago in Duff-Kareores v. Kareores, 474 Mass. 528 (2016), but some questions remain unanswered.
Stay tuned to Connor v. Benedict, SJC-12551.