Cases Discussing Conduct of the Parties in Relation to Property Division and Alimony
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208, §34 discusses the various factors that the court can (and in some cases must) consider when determining alimony and property division in a divorce case. There are about ten factors that the court considers when dividing property and ordering alimony. For example the court can take into account the fact that one party wasted marital income on a secret lover. See Ross v. Ross 385 Mass. 30 (1982). If one party did not contribute anything to marriage, economic or non-economic, the court can take that into account as well. Handrahan v. Handrahan, 28 Mass.App.Ct. 167 (1989). The court can also consider insufficient contribution after the parties separated. For example, a spouse leaving behind the other spouse and a child without any post-separation contribution to the property, spouse or child will be looked upon negatively by the court. Daugherty v. Daugherty, 50 Mass.App.Ct. 738 (2001).
The court will not look kindly on a party that disposes of marital assets, hides money or makes property transfers in anticipation of divorce. Kane v. Kane 13, Mass.App.Ct. 557 (1982); Earle v. Earle, 13 Mass.App.Ct., 1062 (1982); Cabot v. Cabot, 18 Mass.App.Ct. 903 (1984); Bak v. Bak, 24 Mass.App.Ct., 608 (1987); Aronson v. Aronson, 25 Mass.App.Ct. 164 (1987). However, not all transfers during a marriage are considered fraudulent and frowned up by the court, of course. Yacobain v. Yacobain 24, Mass.Appt.Ct. 946 (1987). Spousal abuse is another factor the court can consider when determining alimony. Comins v. Comins, 33 Mass.App.Ct. 28 (1992); Johnson v. Johnson, 22 Mass.App.Ct. 955 (1986).
There are some factors that the court does not consider when determine if a party needs alimony such as a parties’ use of drugs during the marriage (unless they dispose of assets), moral rectitude, relationships with people other than the spouse and out of wedlock children born during the marriage. See O’Brien v. O’Brien, 325 Mass. 573 (1950); Partridge v. Partridge, 14 Mass.App.Ct. 918 (1982); Zildjian v. Zildjian, 8 Mass.App.Ct. 1 (1979) and Talbot v. Talbot, 13 Mass.App.Ct. 456 (1982).
For more information about how the Conduct of Parties during marriage can effect property division and alimony in a divorce case, contact our office today to set up your free consultation.