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


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