KRISTOPHER S. O'LEARY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CHRISTINE A. O'LEARY, Defendant-Appellee.
Court LC No. 02-025820-DM
Before: Shapiro, P.J., and Hoekstra and M. J. Kelly, JJ.
action to enforce a judgment of divorce, the trial court
granted summary disposition to defendant under MCR
2.116(C)(7) based on the conclusion that plaintiff's
claim was time barred by MCL 600.5809(3). Plaintiff filed a
delayed application for leave to appeal, which we
granted. Because plaintiff's claim accrued when
the marital home sold in 2009, his motion to enforce the
terms of the judgement of divorce in 2015 was not time
barred. Consequently, we reverse the dismissal of
plaintiff's claim and remand for further proceedings.
parties married in 1996, and their judgment of divorce
entered on July 24, 2003. At the time of their divorce, the
parties owned a mobile home together in Adrian, Michigan.
With regard to this marital home, the judgment of divorce
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff and
Defendant shall continue to own the martial home . . . as
tenants in common. The house is to be continuously offered
for sale until sold. Defendant shall make the house and lot
payments as long as she resides in the home. At such time as
Defendant moves or the house is sold, the indebtedness or
profit shall be shared equally.
moved out of the home in September of 2007. On October 7,
2009, following a motion by defendant to enforce the judgment
of divorce, the trial court entered an order against
plaintiff, requiring him to pay defendant the sum of $5, 927,
which represented plaintiff's share of the mobile home
and lot rental payments for the time period after defendant
vacated the property. In this order, the trial court also
stated that "all other orders not in direct conflict
herein shall remain in full force and effect."
mobile home eventually sold on October 21, 2009; but, the
sale did not cover the balance owing on the loan. After the
sale, the parties had a deficiency of $37, 998.35. According
to plaintiff, between the sale of the home and January of
2015, he paid $24, 543.24 toward the outstanding balance on
the loan, while defendant paid nothing.
4, 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to enforce the judgment of
divorce. In particular, plaintiff argued that, under the
terms of the judgment of divorce, defendant bore equal
responsibility for the outstanding indebtedness on the loan
balance following the sale of the property. Plaintiff
requested an order specifying that defendant and plaintiff
were each responsible for $18, 999.17. He also sought payment
from defendant for the amount he had paid in excess of his
liability, an amount totaling $5, 544.06.
filed an answer to plaintiff's motion, and she also filed
a motion for summary disposition. Relevant to the present
appeal, defendant asserted that plaintiff's motion to
enforce the judgment of divorce was time barred by the
10-year statute of limitations found in MCL 600.5809(3)
because the judgment of divorce entered in 2003 and plaintiff
did not bring his motion to enforce the judgment until 2015.
According to defendant, within the 10-year time period,
plaintiff should have sought to extend the divorce judgment
by seeking a new judgment or decree under MCL 600.5809(3),
which plaintiff did not do. In response to defendant's
motion for summary disposition, plaintiff argued that his
claim against defendant for half of the indebtedness on the
home accrued when the home sold in 2009, meaning that the
10-year statute of limitations expired in 2019 and his claim
was timely filed in 2015. Alternatively, plaintiff contended
that the motion to enforce the judgment filed by defendant in
2009 "effectively reset the clock on the statute of
limitations" such that plaintiff's claim in 2015 was
timely under the "renewed" judgment of divorce.
a hearing, the trial court granted summary disposition to
defendant, concluding that plaintiff's claim was time
barred by the 10-year statute of limitations in MCL
600.5809(3) because the judgment of divorced entered in 2003
and plaintiff did not seek to enforce the judgment until
2015. Plaintiff then filed a delayed application for leave to
appeal in this Court, which we granted.
appeal, the only issue before us is whether plaintiff's
motion to enforce the judgment of divorce was timely. The
parties agree that plaintiff's claim is subject to the
10-year statute of limitations set forth in MCL 600.5809(3),
but they disagree about when the limitations period began to
run. Plaintiff argues that his claim accrued, and the
limitations period began to run, when the home sold in 2009,
making his motion to enforce the judgment in 2015 timely. In
contrast, defendant contends that the limitations period
began to run when the divorce judgment was rendered in 2003
and that, in the absence of an action for a new judgment, the
limitations period expired in 2013, meaning that
plaintiff's claim in 2015 was untimely.
review de novo a trial court's decision to grant a motion
for summary disposition. Anzaldua v Neogen Corp, 292
Mich.App. 626, 629; 808 N.W.2d 804 (2011). If a claim is
time- barred, summary disposition is properly granted under
MCR 2.116(C)(7). Prins v Mich. State Police, 291
Mich.App. 586, 589; 805 N.W.2d 619 (2011). When the
underlying facts are not disputed, whether a claim is time
barred by a period of limitations is a question of law that
this Court reviews de novo. Titan Ins Co v Farmers Ins
Exch, 241 Mich.App. 258, 260; 615 N.W.2d 774 (2000).
we also review de novo questions of statutory interpretation.
White v Taylor Distrib Co, Inc, 275 Mich.App. 615,
620; 739 N.W.2d 132 (2007). Statutory interpretation begins
with the plain language of the statute. Driver v
Naini, 490 Mich. 239, 247; 802 N.W.2d 311 (2011).
"We read the statutory language in context and as a
whole, considering the plain and ordinary meaning of every
word." Hamed v Wayne Co, 490 Mich. 1, 8; 803
N.W.2d 237 (2011). "When the language is clear and