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Court rules man can opt not to pay ex-wife $1.4 million

An heir to the Educor Inc. fortune will receive millions from a trust, and a court recently ruled that he does not have to pay his ex-wife out of that money.

The money comes from a trust that the man's father set up, which contains around $24 million total. The man also works for an Educor subsidiary as an assistant bookstore manager, and he brings in $170,000 per year. On top of that, the man's brother paid him about $800,000 out of the trust. The brother is in charge of distributing the money.

The man's ex-wife, on the other hand, has been part of the Army Reserves and worked as a part-time ultrasound technician, making $22,672. She quit her post with the military just two years before she would have been eligible for a pension. Reports indicate that she did it to take care of her daughter, at the insistence of the family. Her daughter has Down syndrome.

An appeals court had previously ruled that the man needed to turn over about 60 percent of the money from the fund, along with some interest, saying that it was part of the "fabric of the marriage." The total he was meant to pay was $1.4 million.

However, the Supreme Judicial Court recently decided that he should not have to pay since he was not the one in control of the fund, and there was technically the chance that he may not get payments in the future. The man's lawyer agreed with that decision, arguing that the man's father had set up the trust and never intended for an ex-spouse to get some of his money.

This is a very big ruling, both for divorce cases and for estate planning, and those in Massachusetts should be sure they know how it impacts their rights.

Source: The Boston Globe, "SJC rules heir can refuse to pay $1.4m to ex-wife," Michael Levenson, Aug. 05, 2016

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