Rubin and Rudman Family Law Partner, Jared D. Spinelli, Victorious in Appeals Court, Impacting MA Domestic Relations Law

July 12, 2023

BOSTON, MA – (July 2023)Jared D. Spinelli, Partner in the Family Law Department of Boston-based, full-service law firm Rubin and Rudman LLP, was recently victorious in two different family law appeals before the Massachusetts Appeals Court that are impactful to ongoing Massachusetts domestic relations law.

The first decision, Kwak v. Bozarth (102 Mass App. Ct. 1116), involved an appeal taken by the Wife of a divorce judgment from the Probate and Family Court following a three-day trial. Spinelli, representing the Husband appellee, also served as trial counsel in the underlying divorce proceedings. The central issue before the Appeals Court was the fair market value of the Wife’s dental practice and the trial judge’s decision to largely credit the Husband’s qualified business valuation expert’s opinion of value and reject the Wife’s personal (laywoman) opinion of her own practice’s value. This appeal dealt with business valuation issues such as capitalization of earnings methodology, treatment of salary normalization adjustments, and goodwill discounts. The Appeals Court, after oral argument and consideration of the written briefs, affirmed the Probate and Family Court’s findings and judgment, a trial court judgment which, by extension, largely affirmed Spinelli’s proposed findings and general theory of the case during the initial divorce trial. This victory for Spinelli’s client resulted in the Husband receiving more than $325,000 above what the Wife believed the Husband was owed.

The second decision, an interlocutory appeal of a Probate and Family Court order to vacate the marital home, captioned JC v. AC (No. 22-P-712; May 2, 2023; unpublished), involved Spinelli representing the Wife in defending the Probate and Family Court’s temporary order during the parties’ divorce proceedings requiring the Husband to vacate the marital home and granting the Wife sole and exclusive use pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208, Section 34B. The statute, which permits the trial court to order a divorcing spouse to “vacate” the marital home during the pendency of the divorce proceedings if the “health, safety, or welfare of the moving party or any minor children residing with the parties would be endangered or substantially impaired by a failure to enter such an order,” is rarely challenged and therefore to date the Massachusetts appellate courts have said very little about interpreting the legal standard. The Appeals Court sided with Spinelli and the Wife in affirming the Trial Judge’s vacate order upon review and consideration of the appellate briefs without a hearing.

Spinelli represents clients in all forms of family law matters, with a particular concentration on complex, high-net-worth divorces and difficult child custody matters. In addition to his family law practice at the trial court level, Spinelli has an emerging appellate practice handling family law appeals before the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Boston Magazine recently recognized Spinelli as a “Top Lawyer in Boston” for Family Law in both 2021 and 2022, and he has been selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers every year since 2018. Spinelli is also Chair of Rubin and Rudman’s Pro Bono Committee.