Fetner v. Fetner

Decision Date22 April 2002
Citation741 N.Y.S.2d 256,293 A.D.2d 645
PartiesELLEN FETNER, Respondent,<BR>v.<BR>MARTIN FETNER, Appellant.
CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Division

Krausman, J.P., McGinity, H. Miller and Adams, JJ., concur.

Ordered that the order is modified, on the law, by deleting the provision thereof which provided that, under certain circumstances, the plaintiff would be awarded a judgment against the defendant in the principal sum of $245,000; as so modified, the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs to the plaintiff.

"A separation agreement entered into by the parties in a divorce proceeding constitutes a contract between them which will be enforced according to its terms unless there is proof of fraud, duress, overreaching, or unconscionability" (Gagstetter v Gagstetter, 283 AD2d 393, 395; see Wilson v Neppell, 253 AD2d 493, 494). The interpretation of a contract is a matter of law for the court (see 805 Third Ave. Co. v M.W. Realty Assoc., 58 NY2d 447, 451). Whether a contract is clear or ambiguous is for the court to determine as a matter of law (see WWW Assoc. v Giancontieri, 77 NY2d 157, 162). "[W]hen interpreting a contract, the court should arrive at a construction which 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" (Joseph v Creek & Pines, 217 AD2d 534, 535; Partrick v Guarniere, 204 AD2d 702, 704). Where the intention of the parties is clearly and unambiguously set forth, effect must be given to the intent as indicated by the language used (see Slatt v Slatt, 64 NY2d 966, 967; Morlee Sales Corp. v Manufacturers Trust Co., 9 NY2d 16, 19). Finally, where the contract is clear and unambiguous on its face, the intent of the parties must be gleaned from within the four corners of the instrument (see Nichols v Nichols, 306 NY 490, 496).

Here, pursuant to the terms of article XXIV of the parties' separation agreement, the defendant was required to continue to pay and be responsible for the respective premiums and take all necessary steps to keep three specific life insurance policies in full force and effect. By the terms of article VI of the separation agreement, the parties agreed to waive any right they may have had to share in each other's estate, thereby renouncing any benefit payable upon each other's death by virtue of any pension, profit sharing, annuity, or life insurance policies owned by each. Thus, the Supreme Court...

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  • Bnp Paribas Mortgage Corp.. v. Bank of Am.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 23 Marzo 2011
    ...on its face, the intent o the parties must be gleaned from within the four corners of the instrument.” Fetner v. Fetner, 293 A.D.2d 645, 646, 741 N.Y.S.2d 256 (N.Y.App.Div.2002) (citing Nichols v. Nichols, 306 N.Y. 490, 496, 119 N.E.2d 351 (1954)). Whether or not a contract is ambiguous is ......
  • In re Delta Financial Corp., Bankruptcy No. 07-11880 (CSS).
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Delaware
    • 15 Diciembre 2008
    ...law governs. 17. Joseph v. Creek & Pines, Ltd., 217 A.D.2d 534, 629 N.Y.S.2d 75 (N.Y.App.Div. 1995). 18. Fetner v. Fetner, 293 A.D.2d 645, 741 N.Y.S.2d 256, 258 (N.Y.App.Div.2002) (internal citations 19. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Union Planters Bank, N.A., 530 U.S. 1, 6, 120 S.Ct. 1......
  • In re Delta Mills, Inc., Bankruptcy No. 06-11144 (CSS).
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Delaware
    • 17 Marzo 2009
    ...Cir.1994)). 31. Joseph v. Creek & Pines, Ltd., 217 A.D.2d 534, 629 N.Y.S.2d 75, 76 (N.Y.App.Div.1995). 32. Fetner v. Fetner, 293 A.D.2d 645, 741 N.Y.S.2d 256, 258 (N.Y.App.Div.2002) (internal citations omitted). 33. Faulkner v. Nat'l Geographic Soc'y, 452 F.Supp.2d 369, 375 (S.D.N.Y.2006) (......
  • Bayen v. Bayen
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • 22 Febrero 2011
    ...reasonable expectations will be realized' " ( Herzfeld v. Herzfeld, 50 A.D.3d 851, 851, 857 N.Y.S.2d 170, quoting Fetner v. Fetner, 293 A.D.2d 645, 645, 741 N.Y.S.2d 256; see Hepburn v. Hepburn, 78 A.D.3d 1001, 911 N.Y.S.2d 638). Here, a plain reading of Article V of the stipulation of sett......
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