Young v. Young

478 Mass. 1 (2017)


Derek (H) and Joy (W) had been married for nearly twenty-four years when H filed a complaint for divorce. W filed a complaint for divorce one week later, and the two actions were effectively treated as one. The judge ordered H to pay temporary alimony in the amount of $48,950 per month. H 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. H's gross income from 2008 through 2012 was approximately $1.53 million in 2008, $2.07 million in 2009, $3.81 million in 2010, $7.96 million in 2011, and $7.76 million in 2012. In their marriage, H would work and W would “be a stay-at-home parent and not be employed outside the home.” W has not worked outside the home since 1992, and the judge found that she “has no ability to be employed at a level to allow her to maintain a lifestyle post-divorce similar to that maintained during the marriage without alimony.” Before the separation, the parties were living in a lavish, eight-bedroom home, driving luxury vehicles, and regularly dining out three to four times a week at expensive restaurants. They had purchased a summer home in Nantucket, were spending “tens of thousands of dollars on articles of clothing and handbags” from designer stores, and regularly enjoyed expensive vacations. W's weekly expenses totaled $8,728 (or $453,856 per year) after subtracting expenses related to the children's college tuition and room and board. According to W's September 10, 2014, financial statement, her weekly expenses had increased to $12,575.77 (or $653,940 per year). The judge found that certain expenses were “overstated,” and her “representations of expenses on her financial statements [were] not an accurate reflection of her needs.” The judge did not make a finding regarding her actual weekly or annual expenses or needs. 

W sought alimony in the amount of $713,781.49 per year. The judge ordered H to pay the wife each year alimony in the amount of thirty-three percent of his annual gross income. H appealed