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Johnson v. McCarthy

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

August 29, 2019

Cheryl L. Johnson, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Donald McCarthy, Defendant-Appellee.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations. (C.P.C. No. 03DR-1429)

         On brief:

          Wolinetz & Horvath, LLC, and Dennis E. Horvath, for appellant.

          James W. Adair, III, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Dennis E. Horvath.

          James W. Adair.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Cheryl L. Johnson, appeals a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, that denied her motion for clarification. For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.

         {¶ 2} In a judgment dated November 16, 2005, the trial court granted Johnson and defendant-appellee, Donald McCarthy, a divorce. In addition to determining custody and support issues, the trial court also divided the parties' marital assets, including McCarthy's IBM pension. At the time of the divorce, McCarthy's IBM pension benefits were vested, but not mature. The trial court found that the entirety of the IBM pension constituted marital property. In dividing the IBM pension, the trial court ordered:

[Johnson] is awarded an equal division of the [IBM] personal pension plan * * *. [McCarthy] shall promptly and fully cooperate with the transfer of the one[-]half interests awarded to [Johnson] in each of the above retirement plans to [Johnson's] name via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, rollover or other appropriate instrument.

(Nov. 16, 2005 Judgment Entry - Decree of Divorce at 15-16.)

         {¶ 3} Almost 12 years after the parties' divorce, Johnson moved for clarification of the November 16, 2005 divorce decree. Johnson argued that the decree was ambiguous because it did not specify the date on which the valuation and division of the IBM pension had to occur. Johnson urged the trial court to interpret the decree as adopting the date of McCarthy's retirement, December 31, 2015, as the date for valuation and division of the IBM pension.

         {¶ 4} In response, McCarthy contended that the trial court provided the date for valuation and division of the marital assets, including the IBM pension, when it determined that "[t]he duration of the marriage for the purposes of the valuation of the assets and property division is from the date of the marriage, June 19, 1982[, ] to the first day of trial, September 19, 2005." (Nov. 16, 2005 Judgment Entry - Decree of Divorce at 4.) McCarthy asserted that, based on this provision, the trial court unambiguously selected September 19, 2005 as the date for the valuation and division of the IBM pension benefits. ...


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