Bliss v. Bliss

CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
Citation583 A.2d 208
PartiesGeorge T. BLISS v. Mary G. BLISS.
Decision Date05 December 1990

Page 208

583 A.2d 208
George T. BLISS
Mary G. BLISS.
Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.
Argued Sept. 17, 1990.
Decided Dec. 5, 1990.

Page 209

Erland B. Hardy (orally), Thomas Danylik, Woodman & Edmands, Biddeford, for plaintiff.

Neil F. Pratt, Gordon C. Ayer (orally), Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, Kennebunk, for defendant.


GLASSMAN, Justice.

This appeal arises from a dispute as to the basis for the determination of the amount to be paid the defendant, Mary G. Bliss, from the pension benefits received by the plaintiff, George T. Bliss, intended by a provision in the judgment of divorce granted to the parties in the District Court (Biddeford, Ross, J.) on May 22, 1979. On April 2, 1987, after a nontestimonial hearing at which no extrinsic evidence was offered or considered by the court on Mary's motion for clarification, the District Court (Biddeford, Janelle, J.) determined that the divorce judgment provided that the amount due Mary is to be computed as of the date of George's retirement based on the number of years of marriage and the amount of the actual pension. The court further determined that Mary is entitled to share in George's cost of living adjustments retroactive to November 1986, the date of George's retirement. After a hearing on George's appeal filed in the Superior Court (York County, Brodrick, J.), the court by a judgment entered on January 11, 1990 determined that Mary is entitled to one-half of the pension benefits existing on May 22, 1979, the date of the divorce judgment, to the exclusion of any adjustments for the cost of living and without regard to the amount of the ultimate pension benefits received by George. The Superior Court vacated the judgment of the District Court, and Mary appeals, contending that the District Court's interpretation was correct as a matter of law. We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.

The May 22, 1979 divorce judgment discloses no information as to the earnings or earning ability of either of the parties. It provided that throughout the minority of the parties' two children, George pay a weekly amount to Mary for their support, pay all medical, hospital, dental and optical expenses incurred by the children and maintain all existing insurance on his life for their benefit. The marital property was divided giving to each party the personalty already in that party's possession. It ordered the immediate sale of the real estate and the equal division of the net proceeds. Mary was granted sole and exclusive possession of the real property pending the sale and was responsible for the mortgage payments, taxes and insurance on the property during that period. George was ordered to pay Mary $800 a month alimony pending the sale with this amount to be reviewed by the...

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20 cases
  • Salenius v. Salenius, 7138
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • February 9, 1995
    ...lists made no reference to Richard's pension rights. The court did not err in its interpretation of the 1988 judgment. See Bliss v. Bliss, 583 A.2d 208, 210 (Me.1990) ("a divorce court has the power at any time to clarify an ambiguous judgment it has previously Karen further contends that 1......
  • In re Reider, Bankruptcy No. 93-10764.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. First Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Maine
    • December 30, 1994
    ...language used in a judgment is determined by a consideration of the language in context of the entire judgment...." Bliss v. Bliss, 583 A.2d 208, 210 (Me.1990) (construing divorce judgment as to valuation date of pension benefits). See also MacDonald v. MacDonald, 582 A.2d 976, 978 (Me. 199......
  • Devine v. Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., 6754
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • March 14, 1994
    ...a contract is ambiguous is one of law that we review de novo. Hopewell v. Langdon, 537 A.2d 602, 604 (Me.1988). See also Bliss v. Bliss, 583 A.2d 208, 210 (Me.1990) (interpreting divorce judgment). Contract language is ambiguous when it is reasonably susceptible of different interpretations......
  • Corcoran v. Marie, Docket No. Ken–10–6.
    • United States
    • Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • January 20, 2011
    ...of different interpretations.” Thompson v. Rothman, 2002 ME 39, ¶ 9, 791 A.2d 921, 924 (quotation marks omitted); see also Bliss v. Bliss, 583 A.2d 208, 210 (Me.1990). In reviewing an order “purporting to clarify a divorce judgment,” we apply a two-part test: (1) whether “the court's prior ......
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