Marlin G. Springer - Page 12

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          and permitted reference beyond divorce instruments to State law             
          to determine whether State law specifically provided that the               
          payments in question would terminate on the payee’s death.  In              
          analyzing this change, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit           
                    Although the 1986 amendment injected state law                    
               into the � 71(b)(1) inquiry, the purpose behind the                    
               1984 revision still stands.  A court determining                       
               whether payments qualify as alimony as defined in � 71                 
               will turn to state law only to determine whether state                 
               law, by requiring that the payments terminate upon the                 
               payee’s death, ensures that the payments satisfy �                     
               71(b)(1)(D).  Congress clearly did not intend courts to                
               engage in the very sort of subjective inquiry that had                 
               prompted the 1984 revision. * * * [Id. at 846.]                        
               In analyzing questions regarding termination of payments on            
          the death of the payee, the statutory mandate of section 71 would           
          have us first look at the language in the divorce instrument to             
          determine whether liability survives the death of the payee and,            
          if the instrument is not clear, then determine whether such                 
          liability terminates at death by operation of State law.  Id. at            
          845-846.  In this case, we hold that although the marital                   
          settlement attached to the divorce decree is not as clearly                 
          worded as it might be, the liability in question would have                 
          terminated at death pursuant to the divorce documents.                      
          Furthermore, we hold that the liability would have terminated at            
          death pursuant to Nebraska law if the marital settlement is                 
          deemed to have failed to address the issue of termination.                  

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