Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fourth District Court finds Latent Ambiguity in MSA

The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled today in two consolidated appeals in Riera v. Riera, a case in which the Former Husband was held in contempt below and ordered incarcerated unless a purge was paid for non-payment of college tuition.  The District Court found that, because the Former Husband claimed it was his understanding that the child would attend a Florida public university, there was a latent ambiguity in the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement.  In other words, while the words of the agreement were clear, they failed to address the obligations of the parties in certain situations.  The Court also found error in the lower court’s issuing a contempt order for a contractual obligation to pay college expenses, and for failing to make a finding of an affirmative ability to pay the purge amount.  Senior Judge Schwartz concurred in the Court’s determination that contempt is not an available sanction for non-payment of contractual college expenses, but not with the Court’s finding of a latent ambiguity.  Senior Judge Schwartz found the contract unambiguous and felt it covered all circumstances.

No comments:

Criminal Justice Degree Schools