Gazale v. Gazale, No. 770493

Docket NºNo. 770493
Citation250 S.E.2d 365, 219 Va. 775
Case DateJanuary 12, 1979
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

Page 365

250 S.E.2d 365
219 Va. 775
William Joseph GAZALE
v.
Solange Ulckar GAZALE (now Solange Ulckar Hedberg).
Record No. 770493.
Supreme Court of Virginia.
Jan. 12, 1979.

[219 Va. 776] William J. LoPorto, Fairfax, for appellant.

Burke F. McCahill, Alexandria (Quinlan H. Hancock, Alexandria, on brief), for appellee.

Before CARRICO, HARRISON, COCHRAN, HARMAN, POFF and COMPTON, JJ.

POFF, Justice.

This appeal raises the latest in a series of questions concerning the jurisdiction of the courts to order child support payments beyond the child's 18th birthday.

In a property settlement contract executed January 10, 1972, William Gazale (William) and Solange Gazale (Solange), his wife, agreed that Solange would have custody of their minor children, the youngest

Page 366

of whom, Pamela, was born June 18, 1962, and that William would make child support payments of "$267 per month per child . . . until such time as each child shall attain the age of 21 years, become(s) married, self-supporting or otherwise emancipated." The contract further required William to pay the costs of certain other designated needs of the children.

Effective July 1, 1972, the General Assembly reduced the age of majority from 21 to 18 years. Code § 1-13.42.

By decree entered September 25, 1972, Solange was granted a final divorce. The decree affirmed, ratified, and incorporated the terms of the property settlement contract.

[219 Va. 777] On November 29, 1973, the chancellor entered a consent decree awarding William custody of Pamela and reducing the total monthly child support payments by $267 "until the further Order of this Court."

By another order entered December 17, 1976, the custody of Pamela was restored to Solange, and the monthly payment required by the contract for her support was reinstated for the same period fixed in the contract.

Appealing from this order, William contends that the consent decree supplanted the terms of the property settlement contract providing monthly support payments for Pamela and "deprived the Court of jurisdiction to order support beyond age 18."

We have decided four appeals questioning the effect of the statutory reduction in the age of majority upon child support orders.

In Paul v. Paul, 214 Va. 651, 203 S.E.2d 123 (1974), the parties executed a separation agreement which obligated the husband to make child support payments until the children became 21 years of age or "otherwise emancipated", and this contract was incorporated into the divorce decree entered in September, 1970. New statutes are usually presumed to operate prospectively only, Code § 1-16, and contractual rights and duties are controlled by the law in effect at the time the contract was executed. Applying these rules and considering several provisions of the contract reflecting the parties' intent to provide for the children not only before but also after they attained their majority, we held that the parties never meant the term "otherwise emancipated" to include emancipation resulting from a subsequent change in the law.

Next, we decided Eaton v. Eaton, 215 Va. 824, 213 S.E.2d 789 (1975). There, a separation agreement executed by the parties required the husband to make monthly payments of $300 for support of...

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19 practice notes
  • Newman v. Newman, Record No. 2728-02-2.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • March 2, 2004
    ...decree is a court order, it is `contractual in its nature and should be construed as though it were a contract? " Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 779, 250 S.E.2d 365, 367 (1979) (quoting Culpeper Nat'l Bank v. Morris, 168 Va. 379, 385, 191 S.E. 764, 767 (1937)).4 Absent equitable ground......
  • Wilmington Trust Co. v. Clark, No. 46
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • January 16, 1981
    ...Havemeyer, 17 N.Y.2d 216, 217 N.E.2d 26, 270 N.Y.S.2d 197 (1966); DePaul v. Kauffman, 441 Pa. 386, 272 A.2d 500 (1971); Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 250 S.E.2d 365 (1979). We shall assume for the purpose of this decision, although there appears to be no Delaware case directly on point, th......
  • McGinnis v. Cayton, No. 15658
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • January 27, 1984
    ...and duties of the parties to a contract are controlled by the law in effect at the time the contract was executed. Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 250 S.E.2d 365 (1979). Because all of the general legal principles affecting contracts at the time a particular agreement is entered into form a ......
  • Trahan v. Trahan, Nos. 79-402-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • February 2, 1983
    ...it is derived. Such a judgment is to be construed as a contract using the rules of construction applicable thereto. Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 779, 250 S.E.2d 365, 367 (1979); see United States v. American Society of Civil Engineers, 446 F.Supp. 803, 808 n. 14 (S.D.N.Y.1977). Generally ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Newman v. Newman, Record No. 2728-02-2.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • March 2, 2004
    ...decree is a court order, it is `contractual in its nature and should be construed as though it were a contract? " Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 779, 250 S.E.2d 365, 367 (1979) (quoting Culpeper Nat'l Bank v. Morris, 168 Va. 379, 385, 191 S.E. 764, 767 (1937)).4 Absent equitable ground......
  • Wilmington Trust Co. v. Clark, No. 46
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • January 16, 1981
    ...Havemeyer, 17 N.Y.2d 216, 217 N.E.2d 26, 270 N.Y.S.2d 197 (1966); DePaul v. Kauffman, 441 Pa. 386, 272 A.2d 500 (1971); Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 250 S.E.2d 365 (1979). We shall assume for the purpose of this decision, although there appears to be no Delaware case directly on point, th......
  • McGinnis v. Cayton, No. 15658
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • January 27, 1984
    ...and duties of the parties to a contract are controlled by the law in effect at the time the contract was executed. Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 250 S.E.2d 365 (1979). Because all of the general legal principles affecting contracts at the time a particular agreement is entered into form a ......
  • Trahan v. Trahan, Nos. 79-402-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • February 2, 1983
    ...it is derived. Such a judgment is to be construed as a contract using the rules of construction applicable thereto. Gazale v. Gazale, 219 Va. 775, 779, 250 S.E.2d 365, 367 (1979); see United States v. American Society of Civil Engineers, 446 F.Supp. 803, 808 n. 14 (S.D.N.Y.1977). Generally ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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