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Cherqui v. Laor

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

October 25, 2017

ALICE MARIE CHERQUI
v.
MOSHE LAOR

          Session Date: September 18, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Madison County No. 69732 James F. Butler, Chancellor

         This case involves the interpretation and enforcement of an alimony termination provision in the parties' marital dissolution agreement. Wife filed a Notice of Termination of Alimony Payments in the Chancery Court of Madison County, alleging that Husband's non-compliance with the parties' permanent parenting plan relieved her of any further obligation to pay alimony pursuant to the alimony provision of their marital dissolution agreement. Husband then filed a motion to enforce the marital dissolution agreement and for a temporary injunction. Wife subsequently moved for summary judgment to enforce the alimony provision of the marital dissolution agreement. Husband did not dispute that he failed to comply with the "Passport Provision" of the parties' permanent parenting plan but argued that his violation of the agreement did not relieve Wife's obligation to continue to pay alimony in solido. The trial court concluded that the marital dissolution agreement unambiguously provided that Wife would be immediately relieved of her total obligation to pay alimony if Husband failed to comply with his obligations under the parties' permanent parenting plan and granted Wife's motion for summary judgment. Husband appeals the trial court's granting of summary judgment, while Wife seeks an award of her attorney's fees on appeal. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's granting of summary judgment and award the Wife her attorneys' fees incurred on appeal which the trial court shall calculate upon remand.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed and Remanded

          Stuart Breakstone, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Moshe Laor.

          Larry Rice, Jennifer Bellott Goodin and Erin O'Dea, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Alice Marie Cherqui.

          Arnold B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Brandon O. Gibson and Kenny Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ARNOLD B. GOLDIN, JUDGE

         Background and Procedural History

         Alice Marie Cherqui ("Wife") and Moshe Laor ("Husband") were divorced in September 2014. The parties have one minor child ("the child"), born September 2012. A marital dissolution agreement ("MDA") and permanent parenting plan ("PPP") were incorporated into the parties' final decree of divorce. The current litigation involves the interpretation of the "Alimony" provision of the parties' MDA, which provides:

         Alimony

Beginning October 1, 2014, Wife will pay to Husband five thousand dollars ($5000) per month for a period of forty (40) months. Wife reserves the right to accelerate the alimony payments under this provision, at her discretion, at any time, and in any amount of her choice.
Half of each monthly payment shall be in the form of alimony in solido[.]
The other half of each monthly payment shall be in the form of transitional alimony[.]
The total monthly payments shall not be modifiable with the following exception: should Husband fail to comply with the provisions enumerated below, which can be found within either this Agreement or the parties' Permanent Parenting Plan, Wife shall be immediately relieved of any further obligation to comply with this Alimony provision, beginning on Husband's date of non-compliance. Husband shall immediately reimburse Wife for any alimony payments received past the date of non-compliance, but no later than thirty (30) days after the date of non-compliance. The termination of Wife's obligation under thecircumstancesofthis paragraph shall be irrevocable, regardless of subsequent compliance with the provisions of ...

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