Divorce Mediation Blog

The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 1

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Levine Dispute Resolution - Alimony

With the long-awaited case Young v. Young, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has revisited the important question of when may a trial court originate self-adjusting support orders, a subject that we have addressed here twice before. See, http://levinedisputeresolution.com/docs/Variable-Support-orders-3-28-16.pdf and http://levinedisputeresolution.com/divorce-mediation-blog/need-and-variable-support-orders-they-are-not-mutually-exclusive.

While the case does not address the situation where there is insufficient income to keep both parties living at the former marital standard of living, it does review and elaborate on existing precedent.

In a high income case of great executive compensation complexity, the trial court ordered the husband to pay to the wife a 1/3 share of all gross income that the husband receives going forward, rather than the fixed sum alimony that both parties sought, albeit in vastly different suggested amounts.

The core rulings of Young are neither complex nor novel on their face:

  1. Self-adjusting alimony orders are not per se prohibited, but they are to be limited to “special” though not necessarily “extraordinary” circumstances; and that
  2. Self-adjusting alimony orders that “intend” to elevate the recipient spouse’s standard of living above the marital station are prohibited

But, what does it all mean, really?

We will use Young as a jumping off point to address both its particular analysis and holdings, and to re-examine the curious case of variable support orders a/k/a self-adjusting support orders at large. We begin with just what is a variable support order and who uses them, then explore the analysis and implications of Young, and close (we think) with special problems in the area.

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

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


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