& AFFRONTI, LLP, ROCHESTER (FRANCIS C. AFFRONTI OF
COUNSEL), FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT.
& SCHULTZ LLP, PITTSFORD (ANDREW M. BURNS OF COUNSEL),
PRESENT: CENTRA, J.P., NEMOYER, CURRAN, AND TROUTMAN, JJ.
from an order of the Supreme Court, Monroe County (Richard A.
Dollinger, A.J.), entered June 13, 2017. The order, among
other things, denied plaintiff's motion to hold defendant
hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously
affirmed without costs.
to the Domestic Relations Law and its common-law antecedents,
the concept of spousal maintenance is limited to payments
made to an unmarried ex-spouse. If divorcing spouses wish to
vary this definition and provide for post-remarriage
maintenance, they must do so clearly and unambiguously. In
this case, nothing in the parties' agreement reflects an
intent to depart from the statutory definition of maintenance
with the clarity required by the governing caselaw.
Consequently, as Supreme Court properly determined, defendant
husband's maintenance obligation ended when plaintiff
parties were married in June 1992. In September 2004, the
husband vacated the marital residence; shortly thereafter,
the wife sued for divorce. The parties subsequently executed
a divorce settlement agreement pursuant to Domestic Relations
Law § 236 (B) (3). In the agreement, the parties
specified that "[a]ll matters affecting interpretation
of this [a]greement and the rights of the parties [t]hereto
shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York."
agreement obligated the husband to pay "rehabilitative
maintenance" to the wife pursuant to the following
"(a) From December 1, 2007 - November 30, 2012: $5,
500.00 Per Month = $66, 000.00 Rehabilitative Maintenance Per
(b) From December 1, 2012 - November 30, 2014: $2, 916.00 Per
Month = $34, 992.00 Rehabilitative Maintenance Per Annum
(c) From December 1, 2014 - November 30, 2015: $2, 500.00 Per
Month = $30, 000.00 Rehabilitative Maintenance Per Annum
(d) From December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2020: $2, 200.00 Per
Month = $26, 400.00 Rehabilitative Maintenance Per
foregoing constitutes the entirety of the agreement's
maintenance provision. Critically, the agreement is silent
regarding the effect, if any, of the wife's remarriage
upon the husband's maintenance obligation. The agreement
was subsequently incorporated, but not merged, into a
judgment of divorce rendered by Supreme Court (Doyle, J.) in