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I would like to know how to tell if a stipulation of the parties is survived or merged in a divorce judgment. - Canton Probate

Walpole, MA |

What language would indicate if it is merged or survived? I had to agree to pay alimony in a stip for the results of paternity tests of two children in a marriage. If neither child was mine - I pay alimony for six years. It turns out neither child was mine, and they have two different fathers. One father is paying child support, she is now married to the father of the second child as of Aug 2010. I am paying alimony. Our case was finalized Feb 26, 2009. I am asking because of what I am reading on the most recent Complaint for Modification of Alimony Sec 6, Box C "The recipient spouse has maintained a common household...." My Divorce judgment does say Alimony shall not end if she remarries. Is it worth looking into? If the stip was merged, I may have a shot at modification?

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Attorney answers 4


If it, either, expressly states that it merges or contains no language stating that it survives then you should be able to try to have it modified.


Your queston is very complicated. However, child support and alimony are two very different animals. Child support is for the support of minor, unemancipated children, so whether you are the father or not is irrelevant to your question. Alimony is paid to a former spouse for his/her support, based upon a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, age, education and experience of the parties. If your case went to judgment five years ago, any appeals periods have lng since expired. Nonethless, this judgment may be modifiable if it contains language stating that it has MERGED and is NOT incorporated into the judgment of divorce, based upon a substantial and material change in circumstances of the parties. This may or may not include the situation you present, and, frankly, it will likely cost you a good deal more than it may be worth -- not the "principal" of it, the actual dollars and cents. You need to speak with an experienced family law attorney to review all of the details of your case.

Best wishes to you.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.


Often the first few pages of a Separation Agreement reference whether it survives or is merged. A quick look by a qualified attorney should answer your question. Even so, I suggest that you likely have grounds for a Modification if your Wife has remarried, even if it has to be characterized as co-habitation, which is specifically addressed in the new Alimony Reform Act. The Act also addresses the number of months you owe alimony. It's hard to answer your question more specifically unless I know the length of marriage, the date of divorce and whether the alimony you pay was in consideration of some other concession. I hope I've given you enough information to make some decisions. Hindell Grossman, Grossman & Associates, Ltd., Newton, MA 617.969.0069

There is no substitute for a thorough consultation with an experienced lawyer. The only way to give legal advise is to learn the particular circumstances of each case in context. A question out of context does not guarantee the best answer, and even so, attorneys might disagree about how a legal matter should be handled.


The final order will tell you

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