Friday, December 27, 2013

Spaulding v. Morse case brief

Spaulding v. Morse case brief summary
76 N.E.2d 137 (1947)

Defendant former husband appealed a final decree from the Superior Court (Massachusetts) granted in favor of plaintiff trustee in his bill of equity that directed the former husband to make certain payments to the trustee pursuant to an agreement providing for the maintenance and education of the former husband's minor son.

A written instrument of agreement was executed by the former husband, the former wife, and the original trustee. The agreement was established pursuant to the divorce of the son's parents. The trustee's bill in equity requested specific performance of the instrument by requiring that, pursuant to the agreement, the former husband resume making monthly payments to the trustee during the period in which the son served in the United States Army. The superior court ordered that the former husband continue making those monthly payments.


  • The court reversed the contested decree and ordered a rescript to the superior court to dismiss the bill and award costs to the former husband. 
  • The court held that the parents' intention was that the agreement provide for the son's maintenance and education. 
  • The court found that the son's induction into the army prevented the fulfillment of those purposes of the trust. 
  • Therefore, the court interpreted the agreement as not requiring the trustee to perform the services required to maintain and educate the son during his service in the army. 
  • The superior court lacked the authority to order the making of payments not presently due and owed for future events.

The court reversed the decree challenged by the former husband and in favor of the trustee, that enforced the agreement concerning the former husband's minor son. The court ordered a rescript to enter a final decree dismissing the trustee's bill of equity and imposing costs on the trustee.

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