Marie A. Gonzales - Page 10

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          the parties' submissions to determine whether, and to what                   
          extent, a modification was warranted.                                        
               Farmilette v. Farmilette, supra, and the instant case                   
          present similar circumstances——albeit the former rests on a real,            
          and not imaginary, event.  In each case, a divorced husband (or              
          soon–to–be ex–husband) is ordered to pay family support.  And in             
          each case, a terminating event occurred (child's emancipation or             
          ex-wife's hypothetical death).  In Farmilette, the court squarely            
          faced the issue of whether (and, if so, by how much) to vary                 
          Mr. Farmilette's family support payment beyond the terminating               
          event.  Significant for our purposes was the court's willingness             
          to take on that task; i.e., to review the evidence and recalcu-              
          late, if necessary, the amount of family support owing following             
          the changed situation.  The State court's willingness to do so               
          leads to our affirmative response to the question posed here:  Is            
          there good reason to believe that Dr. Gonzales' family support               
          obligation would continue after petitioner's death?  We think so.            
          Had petitioner died before the superior court entered the divorce            
          decree, Dr. Gonzales, as the noncustodial parent of three                    
          children, could have remained liable to pay family support,                  
          whether in full or in diminished amounts.                                    
               This Court is also mindful of the temporary nature of the               
          order involved here——pendente lite.  As its name suggests, it is             
          effective only during the pendency of a divorce proceeding.  When            

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