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Haverdick v. Haverdick

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District

September 30, 2013

MADELINE R. HAVERDICK, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FRANK HAVERDICK, JR., Defendant-Appellee.

Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, Case No. 2004 DR 417.

Michael A. Scala, (For Plaintiff-Appellant).

Gary R. Rich, (For Defendant-Appellee).

OPINION

CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.

(¶1} Appellant, Madeline R. Haverdick, n.k.a. Madeline Prezioso, appeals from the judgment of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, denying her motion to reinstate spousal support. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

(¶2} In September 2004, appellant filed a complaint for legal separation from appellee, Frank Haverdick. The case was initially settled by way of stipulation; the matter was reopened, however, after the trial court granted a motion for new trial filed by appellee. The parties eventually agreed that appellee would take possession of the marital residence. The parties further stipulated to a division of marital property and household items. They also stipulated to a spousal support arrangement. The stipulations provided that appellee would pay appellant $1, 000 per month commencing on February 1, 2009 and continuing until appellee retires. The stipulations further provided that spousal support would terminate upon the death of either party, appellant's remarriage, or upon appellant's cohabitation in a like-marital state. And, the court reserved jurisdiction to modify the support agreement if appellant elected to immediately commence drawing on her marital share of appellee's pension. The numerous stipulations were incorporated into the final divorce decree that was entered on January 21, 2009.

(¶3} The record indicates that appellant retired and ceased paying spousal support. Appellant filed a motion to reinstate spousal support, arguing the trial court, via the parties' divorce decree, retained jurisdiction to modify or revisit the issue of spousal support. Appellee filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion, asserting the parties stipulated that spousal support would cease upon appellee's retirement. And, the judgment on divorce, which incorporated those stipulations, reserved jurisdiction over spousal support only if appellant chose to begin drawing on appellee's pension prior to his retirement, a situation which did not occur.

(¶4} On September 20, 2012, the trial court issued its judgment denying appellant's motion and this appeal followed. Appellant assigns the following error for our review:

(¶5} "The trial court erred, to the detriment of appellant, by denying appellee [sic] spousal support."

(¶6} Appellant asserts the divorce decree and the stipulations conflict and therefore additional testimony was necessary to establish the parties' intent. We do not agree.

(¶7} The divorce decree expressly stated the court approved the parties' stipulations and incorporated them into the judgment. Both the decree and the stipulations addressed the issue of spousal support. The decree provides:

(¶8} [Appellee] shall pay [appellant], as for spousal support the amount of $1, 000.00 per month, plus processing fee, subject to a change in circumstances of the parties, such as if [appellant] remarries, death of one party; [appellant's] cohabitation in a like marital state. Further, in the event [appellant] can immediately begin to draw her marital share of [appellee's] pension, the Court will retain jurisdiction and review said support.

(¶9} The stipulations echoed these points but further added that the $1, 000-per-month obligation would "commence February 1st of 2009 and continue until such time as [appellee] retires."

(¶10} Read together, the decree and the stipulations are redundant with the exception of when the support would commence and when, irrespective of the other conditions, it would, with certainty, terminate, i.e., upon appellee's retirement. Simply because the decree did not explicitly state retirement as the point at which the support order would terminate does not imply the parties did not intend this result. To the contrary, as there was no objection to this point ...


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