APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Coles County; the Hon.
WILLIAM J. SUNDERMAN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE CRAVEN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This appeal is from a decree for separate maintenance granted Marjorie Glover, wife of Henry Glover, awarding her custody of the couple's four children and ordering him to pay separate maintenance of $450 per month and child support of $200 per month for each child, mortgage and insurance payments, taxes on the former marital residence and plaintiff-wife's attorney fees.
The husband appeals, contending the decree granting his wife separate maintenance was against the manifest weight of the evidence and that the amount awarded was excessive, unwarranted and against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The parties were married in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 11, 1952. Four boys were born of the marriage, who, at the time of the decree, were aged 17, 16, 15 and 13 years, respectively. The first child was born in April of 1953. The husband is a doctor, specializing in pathology. During the marriage, defendant-husband had engaged in his profession in California, Massachusetts and Virginia, and had settled in practice in Mattoon, Illinois.
The parties had lived together during all of their marriage until their present separation in mid-August, 1967, except for a short period when plaintiff returned to her home in Indiana for approximately six weeks as a result of a nervous condition requiring psychiatric treatment. Immediately prior to that time, she threatened to kill the children. In mid-August, 1967, the husband left the marital home and did not return there to live.
On October 26, 1967, plaintiff filed her complaint for separate maintenance, alleging defendant "wilfully deserted and absented himself from the Plaintiff at the marital home, without any reasonable cause and he still continues in said desertion." Defendant filed a denial answer. At the time of filing the complaint, plaintiff filed a petition for temporary relief.
Pursuant to agreement of the parties, a decree for temporary support was entered November 21, 1967, providing temporary custody by plaintiff of the children with rights in defendant of reasonable visitation of them; temporary support to plaintiff by defendant, paying all bills incurred by plaintiff from the date of separation to November 21, 1967, paying the mortgage payments, insurance and taxes on the marital home, and paying as temporary support $200 for plaintiff and $200 for each child per month, or a total of $1,000 per month for three months, and $1,250 per month thereafter until further order of the court.
On November 6, 1969, the court, after hearing evidence, entered the present order. This order awarded custody of the children to plaintiff, subject to right of defendant for reasonable visitation; awarded plaintiff for her support $450 per month, and ordered defendant to pay support for the children of $200 per month for each child, or a total of $1,250 per month; and ordered defendant to make the mortgage payments and pay insurance and taxes on the marital home which was in joint tenancy. It also provided that plaintiff transfer to defendant her equity in a lake cabin owned by both to assist defendant in meeting the requirements of the decree. It further ordered defendant to pay plaintiff $3,000 for her attorney fees and expenses.
Post-trial motion to vacate the decree or alternatively to modify it as to the amount of support was denied.
Since 1959, and at the time of the separation, defendant was employed by the Mattoon Memorial Hospital and the Charleston Memorial Hospital in Coles County, Illinois, where he performed duties as pathologist and doctor in charge of the laboratories. His earnings at this position for 1967 approximated $90,000. Before the separation and during 1967, the Mattoon Hospital sued Dr. Glover over an interpretation of his contract of employment, which suit was pending at the time of separation and until January, 1969, when it was settled.
After entry of the temporary support order, Dr. Glover terminated his employment with the Mattoon and Charleston Hospitals. His reasons given for termination of employment were the suit against him by the hospital, difficulties encountered by him with the Mattoon Hospital in operation of the laboratory since the control of funds was with the hospital, general lack of cooperation, and the deteriorating marital situation.
In April, 1968, defendant accepted employment at St. Clare's Hospital in New York City at a salary of $35,000 per year. He had other income. This was his place of employment and salary at the time of the hearing of this case on its merits. After the decree, defendant filed a petition to modify the amount of support based upon the decrease in his net income. This petition was denied October 28, 1968.
The testimony of both parties discloses a marital background with problems from the outset of the marriage. Marjorie Glover was Catholic. Dr. Glover was of the Jewish faith. The parties were married in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a civil ceremony. Prior to the marriage, they discussed the question of religious instructions. Dr. Glover told Marjorie he didn't believe in any faith or established religion but that his views of life were generally consistent with his approach to work, using a scientific approach of reason rather than faith.
The first child was conceived prior to the marriage. The parties, from time to time, differed drastically over the subject of religion and rearing of the children. The wife suffered mental strain and became gravely troubled over religion and the short intervals between bearing her children. In Los Angeles, she ...