781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

Alimony: Double Dipping In a New Light?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Massachusetts appellate courts have long struggled with whether a “seeming[ly] unjust” double counting of income occurs when a trial judge divides property that includes a closely held business, values that business using an “income theory”, and then orders alimony to be paid from the same source. The cases boil down to a definite maybe, requiring a court to discern an unfair double dip from an acceptable one, including whether or not there are “separate parts” of the asset. A variety of circumstances could lead the fact-finder to different outcomes.

Now, alimony “reform” legislation (eff. 3/1/12) precludes the Court counting expected capital gains, interest or dividend income from any divided assets, as income for alimony computation. Does this settle the double dip question for all time and purposes? Is the judgmental task of fair or unfair double counting over?

We doubt that the business valuation question was squarely in mind of the legislators when they passed the alimony bill; but it seems inconceivable that the next time an appellate panel hears this issue that the business owner will not argue for a blanket exclusion of any business income for alimony computation purposes, citing the alimony statute. If the argument succeeds, and there is no other source of income to tap for the support of a dependent spouse, where does that leave the parties?

Settlement of one issue always seems to beget another.



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



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

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