FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Nick
Allison M. Perry of Florida Appeals & Mediations, P.A.,
Tampa, for Appellant.
Raymond T. Elligett, Jr., and Amy S. Farrior, of Buell &
Elligett, P.A., Tampa, for Appellee.
Kallett, the Former Husband, appeals from the trial
court's order denying his postdissolution petition for
downward modification of his alimony obligation. The trial
court concluded that the Former Husband, in a 2008 settlement
agreement, forever waived his right to seek a downward
modification unless he became involuntarily unemployed.
Because our review of the settlement agreement does not
reveal a clear and unambiguous intent to waive the Former
Husband's statutory right to seek modification, we
reverse and remand for further proceedings pursuant to
section 61.14, Florida Statutes (2014).
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Former Husband and the Former Wife, Sheryl Kastriner,
dissolved their marriage in 2006. The trial court ordered the
Former Husband to pay the Former Wife permanent periodic
alimony in the amount of $4000 per month. In 2008, the
parties entered into a stipulated settlement agreement where
they agreed to reduce the Former Husband's alimony
obligation by $500 per month on account of a reduction in his
income. The trial court later ratified this stipulation.
years later, in 2014, the Former Husband filed a petition
seeking an additional reduction of his alimony obligation. In
response to this petition for modification, the Former Wife
filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the 2008
stipulation prohibits the Former Husband from seeking further
reduction of his alimony obligation unless he is
involuntarily unemployed. In making this argument, the Former
Wife relied on paragraph seven of the 2008 stipulation, which
reads as follows:
The Former Husband shall seek no further reduction of his
alimony obligation before December 31, 2010, and the Former
Husband shall not be entitled to any further reduction of his
alimony obligation prior to December 31, 2010. The Former
Husband may seek downward modification of his alimony
obligation only if he is involuntarily unemployed.
Former Wife argued that paragraph seven should be interpreted
as accomplishing two things. First, paragraph seven prohibits
the Former Husband from seeking modification of alimony for
any reason prior to December 31, 2010. Second, paragraph
seven prohibits the Former Husband from seeking alimony
modification after December 31, 2010, unless he is
involuntarily unemployed. She thus asserted that because it
was undisputed that the Former Husband was not involuntarily
unemployed at the time of filing his 2014 petition for a
reduction in alimony, she should be granted summary judgment.
trial court agreed with the Former Wife that paragraph seven
permanently barred the Former Husband from seeking
modification of his alimony obligation unless he is
involuntarily unemployed. The court noted that it was
applying "a strict construction" of paragraph
seven. Concluding that the Former Husband was not
involuntarily unemployed, the court granted the Former
Wife's motion for summary judgment, denied the Former
Husband's 2014 petition for alimony reduction, and
entered final judgment in favor of the Former Wife.
appeal, the Former Husband argues that paragraph seven of the
parties' 2008 stipulation did not represent an
unambiguous permanent waiver of his right to seek