781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

Massachusetts Alimony: Watching the Pot - Part 1

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The number one preoccupation among Massachusetts divorce lawyers this year is trying to figure out how the appellate courts will construe many of the complex and interactive features of the year old comprehensive alimony “reform” statute. They hope that once this appellate pot boils, “guidance” will flow that will, in turn, give lawyers some sounder basis for predicting how trial judges’ discretion will be bounded and exercised in the future.

There are many uncertainties in the statutes, such as:

  1. How should judges apply their deviation authority to avoid alimony termination when very long marriages bump up against payors’ retirement age in an economic environment where people are working long past “retirement age”?
  2. Where judges perceive that new alimony cut-offs are unfair, how freely should they approach unequal property allocations as a form of compensation?
  3. Should judges “count” the time of temporary alimony orders towards calculated durational limits?
  4. Are judges expected to calculate alimony or child support first?

Will the cases come down in a trickle or a rush? Will the Supreme Judicial Court pre-empt the Appeals Court? Will the decisions be narrowly crafted, allowing for slow and thoughtful development; or will we see broader and a more rambling style of statutory construction? Will the “unreported”, or so-called “128” decisions of the Appeals Court have any coherence at all?

This important and fraught process will only start this year. Will it help or hurt? In our next two blog entries, we will think about this from two perspectives: that of a divorce mediator, and as a divorce arbitrator.




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



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

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