Ostroff v. Ostroff, 10-P-1782
October 24, 2011
A sixty-five year-old emergency room physician retired after a long career in the ER, which ended due to severe back and neck problems and a failing memory. At trial on a complaint for modification to terminate his $500 per week alimony and medical and life insurance obligations, the probate and family court judge determined that plaintiff’s retirement was voluntary. Plaintiff’s ex-wife offered no evidence on the issue of retirement at trial. The trial judge ordered that alimony be reduced to $250 per week; his obligation to maintain medical insurance be terminated; and life insurance of $50,000 be maintained so long as he has an alimony obligation. In the Discussion section of the order, the judge opined that “it is anticipated by this trier of fact that the Plaintiff’s obligation would continue for no more than (3) years, i.e. [Betsy’s] attaining the age of sixty-five.” The Appeals Court found the judge’s decision was without legal effect. Under current law, a modification action would be necessary to terminate the ordered alimony obligation. The order was vacated and the case remanded for further reconsideration of those issues.
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