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In Valaskatgis v. Valaskatgis, decided yesterday, the court was called upon to determine whether assets acquired after the service of process in a divorce, but before the divorce was granted, were marital assets that should be divided in the divorce.  The court held that the assets acquired after service of process were still acquired during the “length of the marriage,” and said:

“The question we consider is whether the definition of the phrase “length of the marriage” contained in G. L. c. 208, § 48, inserted by St. 2011, c. 124, § 3, which was adopted as part of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, applies to that phrase as it is used in G. L. c. 208, § 34, which pertains to the division of marital assets.  We conclude that it does not.

“The Alimony Reform Act did not change our rule “that a couple is not divorced until the judgment becomes absolute.”  …  Nor did the Alimony Reform Act constrain the broad discretion a judge is given to “weigh[] and balance[] . . . the § 34 factors, and the resulting equitable division of the parties’ marital property.”  …  That discretion includes, in appropriate circumstances, the ability to include in the marital estate assets acquired after service of the divorce complaint, and even after the divorce itself.”

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