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Furth v. Furth

APRIL 18, 1972.

LYNN FURTH, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

JULES FURTH, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT L. HUNTER, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a divorce decree. Defendant appeals and contends:

1. The amount of the alimony award is excessive;

2. The amount of the award for plaintiff's attorneys fees is excessive; and

3. It is improper to enter a nunc pro tunc order to give a judgment retroactive effect.

The parties were married in March, 1962, and lived together until November, 1966. A son was born in December, 1963. After his birth the parties maintained full-time live-in help. The evidence reflects that they lived in a manner befitting their affluence.

Plaintiff filed a complaint for divorce on May 16, 1967, alleging cruelty. After a hearing an order was entered allowing plaintiff temporary custody of the child, $750 a month temporary child support and no temporary alimony. Plaintiff filed a supplemental complaint on May 7, 1968, alleging desertion. Trial of the action commenced in September, 1968 and on January 7, 1969 plaintiff was awarded a divorce on the grounds of desertion.

Defendant is owner of Furth & Company, a funeral home, which he operates as a sole proprietorship. Defendant purchased the company in February, 1967, for $35,340. In August, 1968, he paid $13,870 toward the purchase price with the balance thereof to be paid in 9 semi-annual installments. The net worth of Furth & Company was $55,197.14 in 1968. Defendant owned stock worth $67,500 in August, 1968. He will receive approximately $40,000 upon final settlement of his father's estate. Defendant's gross income for 1968 was approximately $56,000; taxable income was about $46,000; and net income after taxes was approximately $34,000.

Plaintiff has not worked since her marriage although she had worked prior thereto. She owns approximately $9,000 worth of stock and has approximately $6,000 in savings accounts. Plaintiff has borrowed about $19,000 from her father since her separation from defendant.

Plaintiff's unrebutted testimony disclosed that she received a wrist injury because of defendant's physical abuse of her. An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed the disorder as an ectopic calcification of the soft tissue at the tip of the bone on the side of the wrist. Plaintiff also suffered from a back disorder which was diagnosed as long-standing degenerative changes in the disc and the fifth lumbar level. A non-rigid lumbar corset and exercises were prescribed for treatment of the back disorder. It was the opinion of plaintiff's doctor that she is not presently in need of any treatment for her ailments and that she can participate in normal activities without adverse results.

When the decree of divorce was entered on January 7, 1969, it expressly reserved jurisdiction of the court to hear evidence on the questions of permanent alimony, permanent child support, attorney's fees and other litigation expenses and whether the alimony and child support would be entered nunc pro tunc as of the date of the decree. The trial court thereupon filed a memorandum opinion on March 21, 1969, which directed plaintiff to prepare a supplemental judgment incorporating the provisions of the memorandum. The supplement to the divorce decree was entered on June 12, 1969, and ordered defendant to pay the following:

1. Child support of $750 a month to commence nunc pro tunc as of the date of the entry of the divorce decree;

2. Extraordinary medical expenses of the child;

3. One-half the cost of summer camp for ...


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