Divorce Mediation Blog

High-Low Agreements: Mitigating Finality Anxiety In Family Law Arbitration

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One of the most prevalent fears that lawyers have in using divorce and other family law arbitration is that under the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Arbitration Act, the parties waive the right to appeal an adverse award for abuse of discretion or errors of law. This is largely true for property and alimony matters, less clearly so for custody and child support.

One way of cutting the sense of risk is to borrow a practice from the commercial litigation world, by entering to a high-low agreement. As examples only, the parties can agree that:

  1. The overall percentage division shall be no broader than 60-40.
  2. The value of the house will be no more than $750,000 and no less than $600,000.
  3. The alimony sum shall be no less than $30,000 and no more that $50,000; and it shall run for a minimum term of 60 months but not longer than 84 months.

The parties may disclose the agreement to the arbitrator or not, as they see fit.

In most cases most of the time, the parties can agree on a reasonable range of outcome but can’t zero in on a final result. Why give up an expedited, cost-effective, flexible and private remedy for fear of lost appellate rights, when a high-low understanding can essentially rule out any motivation to appeal in advance? The costs, delays and high bar for successful appeal make it impractical anyway for all but a very few people in an exceedingly small number of instances.

Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


private dispute resolution resolve disputes Massachusetts alimony and child support Boston self-adjusting alimony divorce judgment Massachusetts divorce mediators arbitration lawyers mediations Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC mediators General term alimony Child Support Guidelines pre-ARA alimony Defense of Marriage Act divorce and family law mediators Massachusetts lawyers Major League Baseball Arbitration support orders alimony law facilitated negotiations Alimony Reform Act Levine Dispute Resolution family mediation Baseball divorce mediation annulment alimony reform legislation divorce mediator family law arbitrator family law arbitrators MLB labor agreement divorce mediations traditional negotiations COLA family law lawyer-attended mediation divorce arbitrators Levine Dispute Resolution Center IRC §2704 divorce arbitration LDRC Levine Dispute Resolutions Uniform Arbitration Act family support child support Chouteau Levine separation Family Law Arbitration med-arb family law mediation arbitrator disputes med/arb how baseball arbitration works Self-adjusting alimony orders alimony statute family and probate law disputes health coverage alimony conciliation arbitrators Twinkies divorce and family law fraud Divorce Cohabitation Divorce Agreements SJC Massachusetts divorce lawyers litigation divorce agreement Baseball Arbitration divorce process mediation divorced divorce arbitrator divorce lawyers alimony orders rehabilitative alimony dispute resolution Obamacare lawyer Massachusetts divorce mediators special master mediator Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Same Sex Marriage Baseball Players high-risk methodology DOMA divorce litigation medical benefits Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly health insurance Matrimonial Arbitration The Seven Sins of Alimony Massachusetts alimony