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Parker v. Parker

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 11, 2019

Tim PARKER, Appellant
v.
Sharon PARKER, Appellee

          Rehearing Denied January 15, 2020

Page 819

          APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04DR-02-1239], HONORABLE JOHN R. SCOTT, JUDGE

          Tim S. Parker, pro se appellant.

         Sexton Law Firm, by: Jane Watson Sexton, Fayetteville, for appellee.

         OPINION

         WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

          Appellant Tim Parker appeals from the July 9, 2018 order of the Benton County Circuit Court finding that the parties’ alimony provision in their property-settlement agreement was ambiguous and that it was the intent of the parties that his alimony payments to Sharon would increase once child support terminated. He argues that the trial court erred as a matter of law (1) in ruling that there was an ambiguity in the agreement; (2) in failing to construe the agreement against Sharon if there was an ambiguity in the agreement because Sharon’s attorney drafted the agreement and divorce decree; (3) by granting the remedy of reformation, or alternatively, by modifying or changing the agreement; (4) in failing and refusing to strictly enforce the agreement as written; and (5) in dismissing his counterclaim for unjust enrichment due to his overpayment of alimony and his request that the overpayment be credited against any future alimony obligation. We affirm.

          Tim and Sharon were divorced by a decree filed on December 27, 2002. The parties entered into a separate "Property Settlement, Custody, and Support Agreement," which was incorporated into the divorce decree. The agreement stated in pertinent part:

3. CHILD SUPPORT : HUSBAND covenants and agrees to pay to WIFE, as support and maintenance for the child born of this marriage, the sum of Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00) per month, the first of said payments to commence the 5th day of December, 2002. The payments of child support shall continue to be paid by HUSBAND until the child shall attain the age of 18 years or if the child remains in school after age 18, the child support payments shall continue until the child shall graduate

Page 820

from high school. The obligation to pay support shall cease if the child becomes married; the child becomes fully and permanently employed gainfully and for a reasonable wage, excluding vacation and seasonal employment of a temporary nature; the child becomes inducted or enlists or enters upon active duty in the Armed services of the United States for a term of service not less than one year[.]
....
6. ALIMONY AND/OR MAINTENANCE : WIFE suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and other health concerns and is disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. In consideration of these factors and the earning potential of HUSBAND, HUSBAND shall pay to WIFE alimony in the amount of Three Hundred Fifty ($350.00) per month to continue until the parties’ minor child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. At that time, HUSBAND shall pay to WIFE alimony in the amount of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per month until HUSBAND retires, dies, or is no longer able to be gainfully employed, whichever occurs first. In the event WIFE cohabitates or remarries, the obligation of alimony shall immediately cease and desist.

          The parties filed a joint notification of death with the court on August 30, 2011, stating that their daughter, E.P., had died on August 5, 2011, at the age of fifteen. The notification also stated that appellant was current on his child-support payments at ...


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