781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

Divorce Mediation Blog

They Got A Lot Right: Hassey v. Hassey, Part Three

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

In our last two blogs, we took the Appeals Court to task for inconsistency and over-reaching as we saw it, but we should not let it go without acknowledging what the Court got right:

  1. The trial judge terminated alimony for “retirement as defined in the [alimony] act.” The Appeals court hewed to the statutory language that absent a defined deviation, alimony stops at a specific retirement age, and not necessarily at actual retirement, before or after. Under the law, a person can work beyond retirement age and pay no alimony, unless a judge explicitly rules otherwise in conformity with criteria set forth in the statute.
  2. Where the trial court ordered the husband to disclose his income periodically to the wife in furtherance of his sliding alimony order, the Appeals Court ruled this an abuse of discretion, because it gave the wife free information about the husband’s changing circumstances while denying the same to the husband, about the wife. (This will likely not impact the parties since the Appeals Court vacated the percentage arrangement, which, in all likelihood, will cause Judge Abber to drop the disclosure provision, too).
  3. Findings of needs, as stressed in this decision, absolutely, are a critical component of alimony law, common and statutory; and the “new” alimony law underscores the practice, rather that reducing it.
  4. On property, the trial court excluded the wife’s family of origin-derived vacation home from property division calculation, while not excluding any part of the husband’s partially family of origin-derived dental practice. The appellate panel reversed on this point, being unconvinced by the trial judge’s conclusion that the vacation home was “never relied on as a financial resource” by the family; pointing out that the family’s habitual use of the property during the marriage was, in fact, a form of financial reliance that was worthy of consideration in weighing the equities of exclusion or inclusion in the section 34 distribution numbers.

The Appeals Court also noted, twice, that Judge Abber was dealing with an extraordinarily complex statutory scheme with little or no appellate guidance, a departure from the too frequent practice of appellate courts speaking uncharitably about the efforts of their trial court colleagues. They certainly got that right.

Go Back to “Self-Modifying” Divorce Judgments: The Appeals Court Feels Strongly Both Ways. Hassey v. Hassey, Part One



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



Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles


recent posts


tags

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