Marlin G. Springer - Page 17

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          Contracts 2d, sec. 202 (1997).11  Additionally, an interpretation           
          that gives a reasonable meaning to all parts of a writing is                
          preferred to one that leaves portions of the writing meaningless.           
          Rink v. Commissioner, 47 F.3d 168, 171 (6th Cir. 1995), affg. 100           
          T.C. 319 (1993); Poison Creek Ranches #1, Ltd. v. Commissioner,             
          T.C. Memo. 1996-504; Washoe Ranches #1, Ltd. v. Commissioner,               
          T.C. Memo. 1996-495.  With these principles in mind, we proceed             
          to examine the divorce documents to determine whether they                  
          provide that there was no liability to make the annual payments             
          for any period after the death of Ms. Springer.                             
               Article 6 of the marital settlement is entitled “ALIMONY”              
          and contains two paragraphs dealing with recurring payments to              
          Ms. Springer.  Although the caption of article 6 is not                     
          dispositive, the use of parallel language and the positioning of            
          the paragraphs together in this article is significant.  It is              
          also noteworthy that article 6 is separate and distinct from the            
          articles providing for the division of property.  The first                 
          paragraph specifically states that these payments will continue             

               11Nebraska caselaw provides similar rules regarding the                
          interpretation of contractual agreements.  “‘A contract must be             
          interpreted as a whole and, if possible, effect must be given to            
          every part thereof.’”  Husen v. Husen, 487 N.W.2d 269, 272 (Neb.            
          1992) (quoting Crowley v. McCoy, 449 N.W.2d 221, 244 (Neb. 1989))           
          (analyzing relationship between two payment provisions contained            
          in property settlement and divorce decree to determine effect of            
          the payee’s remarriage on the payor’s liability to make alimony             
          payments); see also Ruble v. Reich, 611 N.W.2d 844, 850 (Neb.               
          2000) (“We view a contract as a whole in order to construe it.”).           

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