Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Young v. Young

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Norfolk

September 25, 2017

DEREK L. YOUNG
v.
JOY G. YOUNG (and a consolidated case[1]).

          Heard: March 6, 2017.

         Divorce and Separation, Alimony, Findings.

         Complaints for divorce filed in the Norfolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on January 29 and February 5, 2013.

         After consolidation, the case was heard by Jennifer M.R. Ulwick, J. The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.

          David H. Lee (Jessica M. Dubin also present) for the husband.

          David E. Cherny (Erin M. Shapiro also present) for the wife.

          W. Sanford Durland, III, & Glenn M. Schley, amici curiae, submitted a brief.

          Jennifer C. Roman & Johnathan P. Diggin, for Women's Bar Association, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.

          Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ. [2]

          GANTS, C.J.

         The Probate and Family Court judge in this divorce action made two rulings that are the primary subjects of this appeal. First, the judge found that, where the husband's income from his employment was "on an upward trajectory, " the wife may only maintain a standard of living "consistent with the marital lifestyle (which was one where the parties['] needs expanded in accordance with the increasingly available income)" by an award of general term alimony that increases commensurate with the increase in the husband's income. Second, the 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 per cent of the husband's gross income, rather than a fixed amount.

         We conclude that, where the supporting spouse (here, the husband) has the ability to pay, the need for support of the recipient spouse (here, the wife) under general term alimony is the amount required to enable her to maintain the standard of living she had at the time of the separation leading to the divorce, not the amount required to enable her to maintain the standard of living she would have had in the future if the couple had not divorced. We also conclude that, although there might be circumstances where it is reasonable and fair to award a percentage of the supporting spouse's income as general term alimony to the recipient spouse, those circumstances are not present in this case. We therefore remand the case to the Probate and Family Court with instructions to reevaluate the alimony judgment in light of our opinion and enter a new judgment accordingly.[3]

         Background.

         Derek L. Young (husband) and Joy G. Young (wife) had been married for nearly twenty-four years when the husband filed a complaint for divorce in the Probate and Family Court in January, 2013. The wife filed a complaint for divorce one week later, and the two actions were effectively treated as one. In October, 2013, the judge ordered the husband to pay temporary alimony in the amount of $48, 950 per month. After a four-day trial, the judge made voluminous findings of fact and issued an amended judgment of divorce on September 25, 2015. We summarize only those findings relevant to the issues on appeal.

         The judge found that the husband works as a "high level executive" with a financial institution who receives substantial compensation in various forms. Apart from his annual base salary (which was $350, 000 in 2014) and an annual bonus (which was $1.6 million in 2013), he receives compensation through at least seven different compensation programs or share plans, including several types of stock options, a special bonus program, investor entity units, and opportunities to purchase shares of common stock at a discount. The compensation programs vary in how consistently they produce income and in the amount of income they produce. Some investment assets that are earned are liquid and immediately transferrable, and some may not be transferred or converted to cash until sometime in the future. The amount earned, above and beyond the base salary and annual bonus, through these compensation ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.