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


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