Raisor v. Raisor, Ky Mediated Settlement Agreement

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Raisor v. Raisor, ___S.W.3d___(Ky. App.)Ex-Wife appealed from TC’s order adopting the Separation and Property Settlement Agreement between Ex-Wife and Ex-Husband. The parties had reached a property settlement agreement at mediation, memorialized by the mediator's handwritten notes, which was signed by the parties, their respective attorneys, and the mediator. Thereafter, Ex-Husband's attorney tendered a formal settlement agreement incorporating the terms of settlement with the mediator’s handwritten notes attached. After Ex-Wife contested Ex-Husband's version of the agreement, DRC concluded that the agreement tendered by Ex-Husband reflected the settlement reached by the parties during mediation and recommended that TC accept the agreement, to which Ex-Wife filed exceptions. TC accepted DRC's recommendations and this appeal followed.

Because she did not make the argument to TC, CA rejected Ex-Wife’s argument that Ex-Husband's tendered settlement agreement could not be proven as a true recitation of the agreed-upon terms because the handwritten mediation notes were ambiguous and did not constitute a “written separation agreement” as required by Kentucky Revised Statutes 403.180(1). In fact, she had argued to TC that the handwritten notes should be accepted as the parties’ agreement. CA declared that Ex-Wife could not “feed one can of worms to the trial judge and another to the appellate court.” CA also rejected Ex-Wife's second argument, that TC’s review was inconclusive because the parties failed to submit financial disclosure statements required by the 53rd Judicial Circuit's local rules, because this argument was also raised for the first time on appeal. TC affirmed.

Digested by Michelle Eisenmenger Mapes, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates