781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

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


tags

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