final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Merrilee Ehrlich, Judge; L.T. Case No.
13-001559 (FMCE 42/90).
G. Marucci of Rocco G. Marucci, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for
Paulina Forrest and Daniel E. Forrest of Law Office of Daniel
E. Forrest, P.A., Plantation, for appellee.
case concerns the construction of a provision in a marital
settlement agreement. The circuit court held that the
provision was "clear and unambiguous" and entered a
final order consistent with the former wife's
interpretation. Because we find the provision to be
ambiguous, we reverse and remand to the circuit court to hold
an evidentiary hearing where the parties may offer evidence
as to the meaning of the provision.
2013, the trial court entered a final judgment for
dissolution of marriage, which incorporated the parties'
mediated settlement agreement (the "Agreement").
The Agreement contained a provision for the equitable
distribution of the Former Husband's pension, which
provides in pertinent part:
The parties agree that they will each retain any and all
IRA/401K plans held in their individual names. Except that
the husband has a FRS plan with BSO his employer. The wife is
entitled to 50% of the marital portion of this plan through
the entry of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This QDRO
will be entered and the funds transferred within the next
(30) days. The marital portion is defined as the amount from
the date of the marriage through the date of the filing of
the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
(Emphasis added) (the "Agreement provision").
parties married in 1987 when the former husband was employed
by the Tamarac Police Department, where he had worked since
1980. Several years later, the Broward County Sheriff's
Office ("BSO") absorbed the Tamarac Police
Department. The parties cashed out the Tamarac pension and
spent the money, so that the previous accumulation was not
absorbed into the former husband's Florida Retirement
System ("FRS") account with BSO.
the marriage, the parties used marital funds to purchase an
enhancement to the FRS pension for the years that the former
husband worked in Tamarac prior to joining BSO.
parties disagree about how the Agreement provision applies to
the FRS enhancement that was purchased during the marriage.
The wife contends that the entire pension is marital because
the enhancement was purchased with marital funds; the former
husband argues that the purpose of the Agreement provision
was to divide the pension 50/50, except for the
enhancement portion. He says that to obtain a larger slice of
the FRS pie, he paid the wife $100, 000 in lump sum alimony
and assumed other debts.
Fazio v. Fazio,181 So.3d 585 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016),
we remanded the case to the circuit court to rule on whether
there was an ambiguity in the Agreement provision, and if so,
to conduct an evidentiary hearing as to the proper
interpretation of the agreement. On remand, the trial judge
found the ...