Massachusetts Divorce Law Monitor

Sorry to see it...

Hi there,

I was sorry to see that Tuesday the Maine voters rejected single sex marriage.

In Massachusetts, however,  the Appeals Court  in what is known as a "slip opinion" (a slip opinion does not have the dis-positive force of law, but can be utilized as part of a court argument or brief), has extended the time concept of the length of a single sex marriage backwards from the date of marriage to the date of the couples' commitment ceremony.  This means that gay couples may be considered to have been married longer than in fact they were.  This is not the first time Massachusetts has made this determination (again in a slip opinion).  This potentially has huge significance for divorcing single sex couples.

There is however a Supreme Judicial Court decision, and in Massachusetts, SJC decisions always trump Appeals Court decisions.  The SJC held that in a personal injury matter, the length of the marriage was ONLY that time in which the parties were indeed married.

This has the effect of muddying the already murky water of single sex divorce in Massachusetts a little bit more.

Best,

Nancy

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