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Austin v. Austin

Supreme Court of Massachusetts
839 N.E.2d 837 (2005)


Facts

Craig Austin (defendant) and Donna Austin (plaintiff) were married for 12 years and had one child. Two days before the Austins’ wedding, Donna’s attorney drafted an antenuptial agreement for the Austins to sign. The agreement provided that both Craig and Donna waived alimony. During the marriage, Craig owned a restaurant and several other businesses, while Donna was a stay-at-home mother. Donna had only a high-school education. After being married for 12 years, at the age of 55, Donna filed for divorce. At trial, Donna was awarded the marital home, which was worth over $1,000,000, and $525,000 in cash. In addition, the trial judge ordered that Craig pay $500 per week in child support and $1,000 per week in alimony to maintain Donna’s upper-class lifestyle. Craig appealed the trial court’s alimony award.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ireland, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Greaney, J.)

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