Divorce Mediation Blog

The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 5

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

“What’s a judge to do?”

Levine Dispute Resolution - Alimony

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. The trial judge tried to quantify the wife’s “need” by the tangible costs thereof, a common means of doing so. But, it appears that the evidence thwarted the judge in doing so, as she bumped up against a too frequent phenomenon: incredible and incredibly rising expense claims on sequential Rule 401 financial statements during litigation.

During an 11-month span of the Young case, the wife’s claims of weekly expense rose a remarkable 44%, from $453,856 per year to $653,906!

We have seen this movie before, as lawyers, judge, special master and divorce arbitrator. While it is certainly challenging for parties to give dispositive expense information when Rule 410 requires a full statement within 45 days, or when a party files motions, just 10 days. Moreover, uncertainty about just what “need” means, can make presenting financial statement expense claims dicey for the preparer.

Yet, litigation strategy plays an undeniable role. And, strategy evolves..

As a result, the judge critically found that the wife lacked “…personal knowledge regarding her own expenses,” and that her financial statements were not “…an accurate reflection of her need.” The wife’s credibility shot, the judge avoided the quantification of need and, instead opted for an ill-fated percentage-of-income order.

So, where the judge simply disbelieved the wife, and where she did not, apparently, find other, more convincing evidence of the wife’s “need” in the trial record (presumably there was no expert “lifestyle” testimony, or none at least that the court found credible), how will she do so now, on remand?

Don’t bet against a Young v. Young II appellate case, when one of these spouses appeals the judgment after remand.

In our next entry, we will consider the role that financial complexity played in undermining the fate of the trial court decision.

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

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


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