OF JUDGMENT: 11/06/2015
COUNTY CHANCERY COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ROBERT GEORGE CLARK
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ROBERT MARVIN PEEBLES MATTHEW
STANLEY EASTERLING MARTY CRAIG ROBERTSON.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: AMY D. JORDAN.
LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND GREENLEE, JJ.
In March 2006, Brian Korelitz and Ruth'e Korelitz were
granted a divorce by the Madison County Chancery Court. As
part of the divorce, Brian and Ruth'e entered into a
written property-settlement agreement. The alimony provision
of the agreement originally contained the word
"periodic" six times. But after negotiations
between the parties, each instance of "periodic"
was stricken through and initialed by both parties.
Additionally, there was a handwritten clause stating that the
alimony provision of the agreement was nonmodifiable. This
was also initialed by both parties.
In August 2014, alleging a de facto marriage of Ruth'e,
Brian initiated an action to terminate his alimony
obligation. Alternatively, Brian asked the court to modify
his alimony on the ground that he had experienced a
substantial decrease in his income. The chancellor found that
the alimony provision was to be classified as lump-sum
alimony-and thus not subject to modification. Brian appeals.
Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 2006, Brian and Ruth'e agreed to an
irreconcilable-differences divorce. Their agreement relating
to child custody, child support, and property settlement was
reflected in a document that was executed on March 2, 2006.
The alimony provision of the agreement, which is at issue in
this case, reads as follows:
A. Periodic Alimony. [Brian] agrees
to pay unto [Ruth'e] as periodic
alimony the monthly sum of $2, 850.00 per month, beginning
the first day of the month immediately following execution of
this Agreement for a period of thirty-six (36) months,
reducing to $2, 600.00 for a period of thirty-six (36)
months, [and] reducing to $2, 100.00 for a period of
thirty-six (36) months. Periodic
[A]limony shall then reduce to $1, 750.00 until September 1,
2019, or [Brian's] retirement, whichever occurs later,
whereupon periodic alimony shall
cease. Said periodic alimony shall be
payable one-half on the 1st and one-half on the 15th of each
month. In addition, such periodic
alimony shall cease upon the remarriage of [Ruth'e] or
upon the death of either party[, ] whichever occurs first.
The payments shall be deductible by [Brian] and includable as
income by [Ruth'e], both for state and federal income tax
purposes. [Handwritten addition as follows:] Said
payments are further non-modifiable, except as set forth
The word "periodic" was initially inserted into the
alimony paragraph six times. But, in the course of
negotiations by the parties, the word was later stricken
through and initialed by the parties, in every place the word
appeared. Also, there was a handwritten statement at the end
of the alimony provision that stated: "Said payments are
further non-modifiable, except as set forth
hereinabove." This change was also initialed by both
Additionally, according to the terms of the agreement, Brian
agreed to assure alimony payments by maintaining ...