VALERIE P. WAGNER  APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
KEVIN J. WAGNER APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT
AND CROSS-APPEAL FROM JEFFERSON FAMILY COURT HONORABLE DOLLY
W. BERRY, JUDGE ACTION NO. 03-CI-503352
FOR APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE: William D. Tingley Louisville,
FOR APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT: Thomas M. Denbow Louisville,
BEFORE: ACREE, D. LAMBERT AND THOMPSON, JUDGES.
OPINION AFFIRMING IN PART, REVERSING IN PART AND
P. Wagner appeals from an order of the Jefferson Family Court
denying her motion to hold Kevin J. Wagner in contempt for
violation of a provision in the parties' property
settlement agreement requiring Kevin to make the monthly
mortgage payments on the marital residence and for failure to
make property distribution equalization payments as required
by the agreement. We conclude the settlement agreement is
unambiguous as to when Kevin's obligation to pay the
mortgage terminated and the family court erred when it denied
Valerie's motion to hold Kevin in contempt. We affirm the
family court's denial of Valerie's contempt motion as
it relates to the property distribution equalization
and Kevin were married in 1985 and have two children, who
were ages fifteen and ten when the parties divorced in 2008.
The parties entered into a property settlement agreement that
was incorporated into the divorce decree.
to the settlement agreement, each party agreed that in
reaching the agreement they relied on the financial
disclosures completed by each party. In those disclosures, it
was stated that Valerie's monthly income was $3, 200 per
month while Kevin's was $6, 000 per month. Kevin was to
pay Valerie $150, 000 as a property settlement equalization
payment resulting from Valerie's waiver of her interest
in the parties' various businesses and assets. Kevin
agreed to pay Valerie $50, 000 upon execution of the property
settlement agreement and pay the remaining $100, 000 at the
rate of $1, 340 per month commencing December 1, 2007. The
property settlement agreement also provided that Valerie
would have exclusive use and control of the marital home and
that Kevin "shall make the mortgage payments thereon
until such time as Valerie decides to sell the
property." Upon the sale of the home, the net proceeds
were to be divided between the parties. In the agreement,
Valerie waived maintenance.
December 2008, the parties entered into an agreement wherein
Kevin would quitclaim all his right, title and interest in
the marital home for a credit of $75, 000 towards the
remaining balance on the original $150, 000 equalization
payment obligation and executed an acknowledgment of that
agreement. Kevin executed a quitclaim deed to Valerie on
December 4, 2008.
first listed the marital home for sale in August 2011, but
did not receive an offer for her asking price and the house
did not sell. After Kevin stopped making the mortgage
payments in June 2013, the home was foreclosed upon and sold
through a short sale for $420, 000 on January 2, 2014.
February 19, 2014, Valerie filed a motion for contempt
against Kevin for failing to pay the mortgage, failing to
make the property distribution equalization payments and
failing to pay child support payments in violation of the
property settlement agreement.
argued the phrase "until such time as Valerie decides to
sell the property" means Kevin was required to pay the
mortgage until she accepted an offer on the house or until
the house actually sold. Kevin disagreed with that
interpretation and argued that his obligation to make the
mortgage payment ended when Valerie listed the house for sale
in August 2011.
family court held a hearing on the contempt motion.
Approximately seven minutes into the hearing, Valerie's
counsel attempted to introduce evidence of the parties'
income when the settlement agreement was reached as evidence
that it could not have been the intent of the parties'
that Valerie would pay the mortgage before the home sold
because her income was below the monthly payment. The family
court ruled that such evidence was irrelevant stating as
The agreement says what it says. The agreement doesn't
say . . . I'm just saying it is very simple. She works
for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office. I mean whatever .
. . the agreement says that he continues to make the mortgage
payments thereon until such time as she ...