We conclude that a judge, acting pursuant to his authority under G.
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We also conclude, however, that specific errors in methodology invalidate the valuation of the partnership interest in this case. For that reason, we remand the case for a recalculation of that value consistent with this opinion. In all other respects, the judgment of divorce is affirmed. They eventually purchased a primary residence in Chestnut. Between the fall of and spring of , the wife hired and oversaw architects that designed extensive renovations to the Chestnut Hill property.
The wife met with contractors almost daily during this project, and the husband provided input. In , the wife frequently traveled between Massachusetts and New York to supervise architectural and decorative remodeling of the Franklin County property. The husband was not involved in that project.
After their separation, but prior to the judgment of divorce, the husband purchased both a condominium unit in downtown Boston and a home in Pennsylvania. The wife bought a vacation home in Vermont. The husband and the wife have four children together.
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At the time of trial, in , they were all under eleven years of age. The wife was the primary caregiver. The children all required strict oversight of their diets and other special attention for an assortment of allergies and other recurring medical issues. She arranged all extracurricular activities, such as swim, tennis, ballet, violin, and equestrian lessons.
The husband was minimally involved in the medical, educational, and extracurricular life of the children. The wife received an abundance of help with child and home care.
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When the children were infants, the husband and the wife hired nurses. At the time of trial, the wife employed two full-time nannies, although neither resided at the Chestnut Hill home. The nannies assisted the wife during the day, but not at night. Among the many other domestic staffers, the wife also hired an assistant to prepare hot meals for the family.
The wife paid the household staff through a private company. The wife was also the financial manager of the marriage. See note 4, infra. She arranged and attended all meetings with the. She settled and served as cotrustee of trusts for the benefit of the children, and purchased stock for them. She paid all household bills from a joint account. These findings were fully supported in the record. The annual cash distributions to Wellington partners, including the husband, is paid in four principal components: 1 salary; 2 incentive compensation; 3 return on capital; and 4 merit distribution.
Under art. Incentive compensation is determined by contract.
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For instance, for the hedge funds he manages, the husband receives a percentage of the base fees and a percentage of the performance fees paid to Wellington by fund investors. Article XII f of the partnership agreement governs payments of the last two components of the annual distribution, return on capital and merit distribution. Before distributing either, the managing partners committee first determines the annual net available income NAI of Wellington.
This is the amount of income that exists after the managing partners committee credits the accounts of partners with their salary, incentive compensation earnings, and benefits art. XII[b] payments ; deducts the salaries of all other employees and all various operating expenses; distributes the amounts owed to withdrawn partners; and allocates other reserves required for partnership needs. Once the NAI is calculated, the managing partners committee divides these profits into two pools: return on capital and merit distribution payments.
The larger of the pools, merit distribution, is apportioned by the managing partners committee in its sole and conclusive discretion. Precatory criteria for apportioning merit distribution are enumerated in art. XII f of the partnership agreement, but essentially the managing partners committee attempts to trace the money made for the partnership to each particular partner in the prior year and weight distributions accordingly. XII b compensation and art. XII f distributions from Wellington. The husband also received substantial income from numerous hedge funds, brokerage and bank accounts, and other investments.
On January 18, , the husband and the wife entered into a stipulation regarding marital assets, which purports to reflect all of the assets comprising the marital estate. On February 21, , after nine days of trial, the trial judge issued an order of reference and appointed a special master to.
See Mass. Both parties agreed to the appointment. In the months that followed the referral to the special master, the husband and the wife entered into several stipulations agreeing to the value and assignment to one or the other of them of all of their real property. Naturally, in an estate as complex as this, determination of which assets constituted property assignable to the marital estate proved difficult.
The judge required both the husband and the wife to provide a definite value as of the date of marriage to what they claimed to be their respective premarital property. XII f merit distribution and return on capital. To this value was added the present value of the withdrawal payments the husband was entitled to receive on leaving the partnership as provided in art.
XIV of the partnership agreement. The judge also included eighty per cent deducting twenty per cent attributable only to the wife as one of five persons living in the residence with the children of weekly household expenses, such as mortgage payments, taxes, maintenance, utilities, and automobile costs. The divorce judgment was entered on August 19, The husband timely appealed from the judgment of divorce and filed an application for direct appellate review in this court, which we granted.
We begin by analyzing the question in light of the plain language of our equitable distribution statute. See Commonwealth v. The statute grants judges the authority to exercise a broad degree of discretion in assigning.
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This language strongly militates in favor of inclusion of the Wellington partnership interest. See G. The inquiry does not end there, however. See Drapek, supra at ; Yannas v. Similarly, in Yannas v. Frondistou-Yannas, supra, we declined to characterize the present value of a grant of a patent as a divisible asset because any enhanced earning potential the patent created was merely speculative.
See also Davidson v. Davidson, supra at anticipated inheritance from living testator unassignable to marital estate.
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As articulated in art. XII b of the partnership agreement, Wellington pays the husband annual salary and incentive compensation, and that represents his future earned income. XII b , from his computation of the present value of the Wellington partnership interest see infra , and, consequently, did not contravene the rule against distribution of future earned income in Drapek, supra.
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Nor is an interest in a partnership so ineffably speculative that it resists present valuation. The value of an interest in a partnership is distinguishable from the expectancies at issue in Drapek and its progeny. For instance, a medical degree, and concomitantly professional licensure, grants a putative doctor the simple right to practice medicine, not an entitlement to inclusion in a medical business organization and a.
By contrast, an interest in an established partnership, though subject to degrees of uncertainty and the contingency of future performance, has more than theoretical value. In Bernier v. See id. Our courts have upheld the equitable distribution of the present value of other noncorporate business interests. See Adlakha v. Further, in Baccanti, supra at , we held that the present value of nonvested stock options may be included in the divisible marital estate. We also ruled that the contingency of vesting on. Similarly, in Dewan v.
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Academy of Matrimonial Law , See Dalessio v. Lauricella, supra at See Baccanti, supra. What emerges from an analysis of these cases is a fine distinction between an indivisible expectancy and a partnership interest. That partnership interest encompasses a composite of both a reasonably predictable stream of future distributions art.
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