Awarding a “Clean Break”
Mary Beth Ayvazian successfully represented a Wife, an active military duty soldier, in a divorce trial against a greedy husband who sought to capitalize on his Wife’s hard work and sweat equity despite the short-term nature of their marriage. Husband sought alimony; a portion of Wife’s military benefits including Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), and Family Separation Allowance (FSA); a portion of Wife’s income tax refunds after Wife filed separately; medical insurance from Wife’s military provisions; and recovery of his attorney’s fees.
When formulating financial settlements for divorce cases, the courts have wide discretion to redistribute income and assets in light of the circumstances. One of the factors of M.G.L. c. 208, sec. 34 which the court must have regard to when determining the division of assets, is the duration of the marriage. It has been acknowledged that a short marriage “will affect the quantum of the financial fruits of the partnership.” The length of a marriage is therefore a central consideration to determine whether there are financial fruits of the marital partnership and, if so, whether there should be an equitable division of same.
After a half-day trial, the Probate and Family Court Judge awarded Wife the divorce and dismissed all of Husband’s claims and prayers for relief thereby bringing a just and fair result to Attorney Ayvazian’s client giving her the clean break she sought through her action for divorce.