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REPORT ON LDRC

Part 1:
Why was the GOP out to get Alimony?

Well, they did it. In December, Congress repealed the alimony deduction, and as a result, support for divorce families will become more expensive and less generous, beginning in 2019.

Unbeknownst to us, the federal alimony deduction was on Republican chopping block wish list for a long time, with previous failed repeal attempts in 1984 and 2014. Few of us thought it important enough to the president or the GOP caucus to actually make it happen this time, especially when the senate bill did not mention it in its bill. Boy, were we wrong.

The question is: why?

To save majority lawmakers from having to reach actual consensus with Democrats, God forbid, by keeping the red ink caused by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act below $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, permitting a budget reconciliation maneuver and permitting passage on Republican votes only?

Whatever happened to simplification and revenue neutrality: watchwords of tax reform and Republican faith, for as long as memory serves? Not this Congress, and not this time.

But, really, how much did it help that cause? According to the House Ways and means Joint Committee on Taxation, repeal of the alimony deduction, upon which divorcing families have relied for three-quarters of a century, will “save” $8.3 billion from the aggregate deficit over 2018-2027. See here.

A drop in the bucket…

… especially in context. When a Fox Business reporter asked Treasury Secretary Mnuchin about the president’s abandonment of his campaign-guaranteed crackdown on carried interest preferences for private equity and hedge fund principals, which would have saved an estimated $100 billion over the same ten years, he blathered that, “…it’s not that much money…”. Really. Listen for yourself here.

So, we come back to “why”, if not budget reconciliation? Was it the moralism of Paul Ryan’s wing of the GOP, punishing divorcing families for their failings? If so, we are dangerously more like the theocratic regimes that our president loves to praise or castigate, depending on his momentary whim, than we like to believe.

In the meantime, families are the collateral damage. So much for family values.

Part 2:
Please accept our apologies…

For the screed above and for allowing politics to intrude into our little newsletter. But, really?

Part 3:
The Blog

The old news on alimony relates to the continuing appellate refinement of the Alimony Reform Act (eff. 3.1.12), here in Massachusetts. So far, we have sent up seven entries on the important case of Young v. Young, with two more in cue over the next month. If you haven’t had the chance before, please sample them here.

We wish you all a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2018, despite the odds imposed on us by our civic life.

Chouteau & Bill

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

LDRC Blog

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. read more...


The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 2 “What are they, anyway?”

LDRC Blog

We introduce the subject that the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) addressed in Young v. Young by examining the kinds of orders from which the case arose: variable or self-adjusting support orders. Here, we address the basics.

What are self-adjusting support orders? They are alimony orders expressed by a formula rather than a sum. The payor computes alimony periodically by applying a percentage to his or her defined income.  read more...


The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 3 “What did the court decide and why; and might it have decided differently?”

LDRC Blog

Here, we delve into the SJC’s analysis in Young v. Young.

Young was high income case, in which the husband’s executive compensation fueled a persistently rising lifestyle (“affluent, upper class”) for the parties during a 24-year marriage. Both parties sought fixed sum alimony in the wife’s favor, but at broadly disparate levels. read more...

The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 4 “Marital station, when?”

LDRC Blog

In this entry, we will begin discussing how the Young case determines “need” in the context of alimony. read more...


The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 5 “What’s a judge to do?”

LDRC Blog

In this entry, we consider a particular challenge that the trial judge will have on remand from the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Young v. Young, in grappling with her assessment of the wife’s “need” for alimony.  read more...


The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 6 “Not everyone can afford a special master”

LDRC Blog

Now, we will consider the role that financial complexity played in undermining the fate of the trial court decision in the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) Young v. Young. read more...


The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 7 “Is ‘need’ a floor or a ceiling?”

LDRC Blog

This question does not rise from historic alimony law, which has long rested on the axiom that alimony exists to meet a recipient’s “needs”, as measured by the marital living standard. read more...


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