Divorce Mediation Blog

The SJC Weighs in on Self-Adjusting Alimony Orders and Recipient “Need”: Young v. Young, Part 6

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

“Not everyone can afford a special master”

Levine Dispute Resolution - Alimony

Now, we will consider the role that financial complexity played in undermining the fate of the trial court decision in the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) Young v. Young. The SJC reports that:

    …the [trial] judge found that, because of "the complex nature of [the husband's] compensation over and above his base salary and bonus," and because of "the constantly shifting nature of [the husband's] compensation," "it is reasonable and fair in the circumstances" to award alimony to the wife in the amount of thirty-three percent of the husband's gross income, rather than a fixed amount. (Italics ours)

The husband’s employment income arose from seven different compensation programs, including stock options, bonuses, investor entity units and discount stock purchase program opportunities. The various compensation modes featured differing consistencies, liquidity and transferability attributes, “…both considerable and variable”.

The SJC worried that the trial court’s self-adjusting alimony award (one-third of the husband’s gross pre-tax compensation) would lead to uncertainty of implementation, causing “continued strife” between the parties, citing the potential for inexact drafting and employer-employee collusion (to depress applicable income). The trial judge implicitly recognized the chance of future contention by appointing a special master, to keep the peace. Think: alimony coordinator.

The SJC deadpanned that: “Not everyone can afford a special master.”

If Mr. Young were simply a salaried employee, without the corporate power to manipulate his compensation, might the result have been different?

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

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


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