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

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