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Hahn v. Hahn

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Ottawa

May 26, 2017

Debbra Hahn Appellant
v.
Steve S. Hahn Appellee

         Trial Court No. 15DR001B

          Kristopher K. Hill and Thomas J. DeBacco, for appellant.

          Michelle L. Christie, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          SINGER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Debbra Hahn, appeals from a judgment of the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas in which the court granted a divorce and awarded her spousal support. For the reasons that follow, we affirm, in part, and reverse, in part, and remand for the trial court to modify its judgment.

         Assignment of Error

         {¶ 2} Appellant sets forth the following assignment of error:

I. The trial court abused its discretion in adopting the Appellee's argument regarding spousal support and division of benefits.

         Facts

         {¶ 3} This matter arises from a final judgment of divorce issued on October 21, 2016. The parties married on May 22, 1993, and separated on December 1, 2014. The parties had no children during the marriage.

         {¶ 4} At the time of divorce, appellant was age 64 and appellee was age 65. Since 1999, appellant has been on disability and unable to work as a result of a heart condition. Appellee financially supported her during the marriage.

         {¶ 5} Appellee is a financial advisor and insurance agent, and the record reflects his income comes from three sources, including a Prudential pension plan ("the plan"). Appellant testified the plan was started in 2010. The monthly distribution from the plan was $2, 490, until December 2016, at which point the amount would change to $1, 694. Appellee testified that he made the plan "a hundred percent spousal benefit, " so that appellant would receive payment in the event of his death.

         {¶ 6} Prior to trial, the parties entered into a voluntary agreement, which was read into the record. The agreement, as read into the record, was clear with regard to all aspects of the parties' voluntary property division, with the exception of confusion about the spousal support award.

         {¶ 7} The record, in pertinent part, reflects as follows:

Appellee's counsel: Last, but not least, Your Honor, is the issue of spousal support. I will say we got a little creative with this because of several issues and retirement plans and everything else, but until the house is sold, the defendant [appellee] will pay to plaintiff [appellant] the amount of $2, 000 per month.
We also talked about the sum that plaintiff will pay direct-will be paid directly from defendant, the pension plan amount, and, again, that changes in December 2016. We will not be utilizing a Q.D.R.O and defendant has agreed that he will pay plaintiff that sum by the 15th of each month.
Upon the sale of the [marital] residence, the parties have agreed that the spousal support will be the sum of $2, 700 per month and that award of spousal support will go until the defendant reaches the age of 71. * * *
Appellant's counsel: Your Honor, the only thing I would add, just for clarification purposes, is that the pension, it appears that the number would be $1, 245 per month until December of next year, at which point it would change to $847. * * *

         {¶ 8} After the agreement was read into the record, the court stated that the parties had seven days to prepare a proposed judgment entry reflecting the agreement. On January 19, 2016, appellee moved the court for approval of his proposed judgment entry. Two days later, appellant submitted her proposed judgment entry. The proposed entries differed with regard to the amount of spousal support awarded.

         {¶ 9} Appellant's position was that the monthly spousal support award of $2, 000 (eventually $2, 700), should not have included the plan's monthly pension distribution of $1, 245 (eventually $847). Appellee countered that the plan's monthly pension distribution should be included in the monthly spousal support award. The court set the matter for a hearing.

         {¶ 10} At the hearing, the magistrate found that the sole issue was whether there was mutual assent among the parties when entering the agreement. After the parties testified to his and her understanding of the agreement, the court requested the parties brief the matter. Despite requesting briefs, the court made note that the ultimate determination regarding "distribution of property and spousal support" was ...


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