Appeals from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, (DRB259-05) (Hon. Judith N. Macaluso, Trial Judge).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nebeker, Senior Judge
Before FISHER and THOMPSON, Associate Judges, and NEBEKER, Senior Judge.
Appellant Robert G. Elwell appeals from a final order of the trial court denying his complaint to terminate or reduce spousal support. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in concluding that the parties' settlement agreement did not include a term requiring the renegotiation of alimony upon appellant's retirement. We agree and reverse.
In 1992, appellant filed for divorce. At a hearing before Judge Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr., on May 4, 1994, the parties entered into an oral separation agreement concerning everything except the division of personal property. Counsel for appellant read the terms of the agreement into the record, including a provision for alimony.*fn2 After the terms were stated, the trial judge began to examine the parties in order to determine if they agreed. Both parties said that they agreed to be bound by the separation agreement. Counsel for appellant interrupted this examination, explaining that he had inadvertently omitted a term. Then, he and counsel for appellee explained what was missing:
[Appellant's Counsel]: Your Honor, I omitted something.
The Court: Did you? What did you omit?
[Appellant's Counsel]: And, I need to make sure that I didn't omit anything else with respect to the alimony. The alimony, of course, is payable -- [Appellee's Counsel]: Until death or remarriage.
[Appellant's Counsel]: Until death or remarriage.
[Appellant's Counsel]: To be renegotiated on retirement based upon the incomes at that time. But, in no event would Mr. Elwell retire before the age of sixty-five.
The Court: Okay. With that addendum, both parties ...