Child Custody Massachusetts Norfolk Lawyers Divorce Complaint
Welch v. Welch
Appellee former wife filed a complaint for divorce in which she sought custody of the parties’ child. The Family Court Department (Massachusetts) entered a judgment of divorce nisi and awarded the wife full legal and physical custody of the child. Appellant former husband moved to amend findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court denied the motion, and he appealed.
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The Massachusetts Court made the following holding:
- Under Mass. R. Dom. Rel. P. 36(a), each matter of which an admission is requested is deemed admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed responds in accordance with Rule 36 either by denying the matter (or setting forth in detail why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter) or objecting to it. Rule 36(b) provides that any matter admitted under the rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission.
- Rule 36(b) recognizes that the effect of the rule in a given case may be unduly harsh, and the ability of the judge to exert an ameliorating influence is essential to avoid a result in which form triumphs over substance. In the usual case, a judge may ameliorate the effect of the rule when: (1) the presentation of the merits of the action will be advanced, and (2) the party obtaining the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense on the merits. However, when a party delays seeking relief until trial has commenced, Rule 36(b) impliedly adopts a stricter standard of preventing manifest injustice.
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These summaries are provided by the Gilmore & Sris Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The Original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.