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McMahon-Rohan v. Rohan

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
Jan 22, 2014
978 N.Y.S.2d 866 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)

Opinion

2014-01-22

In the Matter of Patricia A. McMAHON–ROHAN, respondent, v. Robert E. ROHAN III, appellant.

Robert E. Rohan III, Massapequa, N.Y., appellant pro se. Helwig, Henderson, Ryan, LaMagna & Spinola, LLP, Carle Place, N.Y. (Robert L. Ryan, Jr., of counsel), for respondent.


Robert E. Rohan III, Massapequa, N.Y., appellant pro se. Helwig, Henderson, Ryan, LaMagna & Spinola, LLP, Carle Place, N.Y. (Robert L. Ryan, Jr., of counsel), for respondent.

In a child support proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 4, the father appeals from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County (Delligatti, J.), dated September 27, 2012, which denied his objections to an order of the same court (Dwyer, S.M.) dated June 28, 2012, which, after a hearing, inter alia, awarded the mother child support arrears in the sum of $6,257.76.

ORDERED that the order dated September 27, 2012, is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

Pursuant to the parties' separation agreement dated May 31, 2001, the father agreed to pay child support beyond the subject child's 21st birthday “only if, and so long as,” the child “pursues a college education with reasonable diligence,” but in no event beyond the child's 22nd birthday. The father also agreed to pay 60% of the child's unreimbursed medical expenses. The separation agreement was incorporated but not merged into the parties' judgment of divorce.

Following the child's 21st birthday, the father ceased paying child support, whereupon the mother filed a violation petition seeking arrears for child support and unreimbursed medical expenses. In an order dated June 28, 2012, the Support Magistrate granted the petition and directed the father to pay the arrears. In an order dated September 27, 2012, the Family Court denied the father's objections to the Support Magistrate's order. The father appeals.

“When interpreting a contract, such as a separation agreement, the court should arrive at a construction that will give fair meaning to all of the language employed by the parties to reach a practical interpretation of the expressions of the parties so that their reasonable expectations will be realized” ( Matter of Katz v. Dotan, 95 A.D.3d 1328, 1329, 945 N.Y.S.2d 404; see Matter of Duggan v. Duggan, 83 A.D.3d 703, 704, 923 N.Y.S.2d 114; Matter of Schiano v. Hirsch, 22 A.D.3d 502, 502, 803 N.Y.S.2d 643). “The words and phrases used in an agreement must be given their plain meaning so as to define the rights of the parties” ( Matter of Bokor v. Markel, 104 A.D.3d 683, 683, 960 N.Y.S.2d 202 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Skolnick v. Skolnick, 271 A.D.2d 431, 705 N.Y.S.2d 396; Matter of Scalabrini v. Scalabrini, 242 A.D.2d 725, 662 N.Y.S.2d 581). “Where such an agreement is clear and unambiguous on its face, the parties' intent must be construed from the four corners of the agreement, and not from extrinsic evidence” ( Matter of Cricenti v. Cricenti, 60 A.D.3d 1052, 1053, 877 N.Y.S.2d 349).

Contrary to the father's contention, the Support Magistrate properly determined that the child's enrollment at Farmingdale State College, where she first received an associate degree and was then accepted into a second degree program, constituted the pursuit of a “college education with reasonable diligence,” as contemplated by the separation agreement ( see Matter of Kelly, 285 N.Y. 139, 33 N.E.2d 62; Matter of Schiano v. Hirsch, 22 A.D.3d 502, 803 N.Y.S.2d 643). Consequently, the Support Magistrate properly enforced the child support provision of the parties' agreement ( see Matter of Schiano v. Hirsch, 22 A.D.3d at 502, 803 N.Y.S.2d 643; Matter of Bokor v. Markel, 104 A.D.3d 683, 960 N.Y.S.2d 202).

The father's remaining contentions are either without merit or unpreserved for appellate review. DILLON, J.P., DICKERSON, AUSTIN and SGROI, JJ., concur.


Summaries of

McMahon-Rohan v. Rohan

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
Jan 22, 2014
978 N.Y.S.2d 866 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)
Case details for

McMahon-Rohan v. Rohan

Case Details

Full title:In the Matter of Patricia A. McMAHON–ROHAN, respondent, v. Robert E. ROHAN…

Court:Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Date published: Jan 22, 2014

Citations

978 N.Y.S.2d 866 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)
113 A.D.3d 771
2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 358

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