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Kolenz v. Kolenz

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

August 21, 2013

LORI E. KOLENZ, Appellee
v.
RONALD J. KOLENZ, Appellant

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2010-07-1975.

APPEARANCES: RONALD J. KOLENZ, Appellant.

HARVEY F. MILLER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

CARR, Judge.

(¶1} Appellant Ronald Kolenz ("Husband") appeals the judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. This Court affirms.

I.

(¶2} Lori Kolenz ("Wife") filed for divorce from Husband, and Husband counterclaimed for divorce. On December 16, 2011, the domestic relations court entered a judgment decree of divorce, incorporating the terms of the parties' separation agreement therein. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Husband was to pay Wife spousal support in the amount of $1.00 per month, and Wife was not permitted to seek a modification of the spousal support order until June 1, 2012. The trial court expressly retained jurisdiction to address both the amount and duration of spousal support. Included in the parties' separation agreement was a provision stating that the parties understood and acknowledged that the domestic relations court "has the jurisdiction and discretion to impute income to either party for purposes of spousal support calculation based upon the parties' prior work history." The separation agreement further contemplated a review hearing in June 2012, to further address the issue of spousal support and attorney fees.

(¶3} The domestic relations court held a review hearing in July 2012, on the issue of spousal support. On October 12, 2012, the trial court issued a judgment entry in which it found that Husband was voluntarily unemployed and imputed income to him in the amount of $60, 000.00 per year. The domestic relations court ordered Husband to pay spousal support to Wife in the amount of $1375.00 per month. Husband filed a timely appeal and raises two assignments of error for review.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW WHEN IT DETERMINED THAT APPELLANT WAS VOLUNTARILY UNEMPLOYED IN ITS JUDGMENT ENTRY OF OCTOBER 12, 2012.

(¶4} Husband argues that the domestic relations court erred by finding that he was voluntarily unemployed before imputing income to him. This Court disagrees.

(¶5} Husband presents a confusing argument in which he first argues that the trial court's finding that he was voluntarily unemployed was against the manifest weight of the evidence. He concludes, however, that this Court must conduct a de novo review of the trial court's factual findings.

(¶6} This Court concludes that the issue Husband attempts to raise is immaterial to the efficacy of the domestic relations court's spousal support order. We agree with Wife that the trial court's finding that Husband was voluntarily unemployed "was not necessary to support imputation of income to Husband for purposes of establishing a spousal support order." Rather, the propriety of the trial court's order that imputed income to him is resolved pursuant to contract law. It is well established that the interpretation of a contract that is clear and unambiguous is a matter of law. Town & Country Co-op, Inc. v. Sabol Farms, Inc., 9th Dist. Wayne No. 11CA0014, 2012-Ohio-4874, ¶ 15.

(¶7} The parties entered into a separation agreement which was incorporated into the decree of divorce. Moreover, the parties indicated their "express[] inten[t]" that they remain bound to the terms of the separation agreement upon its execution even in ...


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