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In Re Marriage of Raski





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Williamson County; the Hon. ROBERT LANSDEN, Judge, presiding.


Appellant John A. Raski appeals from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Williamson County dividing marital property and granting child support to appellee Arma L. Raski for the benefit of their minor son following the parties' dissolution of marriage.

John and Arma Raski were married in June 1967. At that time, the parties had little or no property. Through a joint effort, they have accumulated what is stipulated to be marital property under the recently enacted Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 40, par. 101 et seq.). The major item is the marital home which is valued at or in excess of $37,000. The outstanding balance of the mortgage on the home is roughly $14,000. The contents of the home are marital property and have not been valued. The parties own two automobiles, a 1972 Opel and a 1976 Chevrolet. Mrs. Raski has medical insurance covering herself and the child, and has two small life insurance policies. Mr. Raski also has a medical policy covering himself and the child. In addition he has a $15,000 life insurance policy with Arma as beneficiary. The parties had two savings accounts and one checking account. Although the evidence is somewhat contradictory, it appears that one savings account was in both parties' names, with a balance of either $2,300 or $2,900 at the time the parties separated. The other savings account, although marital property, was in Mrs. Raski's name, and had a balance of $3,100 to $3,400 at the same time. The checking account was in both names and had a balance of about $300.

The parties are school teachers and make roughly equivalent salaries. Mr. Raski makes approximately $16,000 a year and Mrs. Raski earns $15,300 a year. On most occasions they pooled their resources.

One child, Anthony Raski III, who is four years old and in good health, was born of the marriage. After Mr. Raski left the home in February 1976, he voluntarily paid child support of $165 per month. When he stopped paying the support, a temporary order was entered in the amount of $150 a month. Mrs. Raski testified that this sum, in addition to what she made, was hardly sufficient to cover the child's support and maintain herself and the home.

She further testified that after the parties' separation, she withdrew $1,200 from her savings account and $1,100 from the joint savings account. She pooled these funds with her tax refund and purchased E bonds for the benefit of the child. Both Mrs. Raski's and the child's names are on the bonds. She also withdrew additional funds from her savings account to pay expenses when Mr. Raski stopped making child support payments for three to four months. In addition, she used the balance of the funds in the joint checking account for purposes undisclosed in the record.

Mr. Raski testified that his wife had taken $1,920 from the joint savings account after the marriage separation. He withdrew the remaining balance of $1,100.

Mrs. Raski continues to make the mortgage payments and the routine house repairs.

The trial court ordered Mr. Raski to pay child support of $165 per month. In addition, it awarded him the 1976 Chevrolet, work tools, hunting equipment, an antique desk, and a baby bed. Mrs. Raski was awarded the 1972 Opel, the remaining home furnishings, and an undivided one-half interest in the marital home. Appellant's one-half interest was to be conveyed in trust for the minor child until said child reached the age of 18 years, at which time the corpus was to pass outright to the child. The trial court then awarded each party "his or her own bank accounts."

On appeal, appellant assigns as error the child support award of $165 per month. He further challenges the conveyance of his interest in real estate in trust for the benefit of his son and the purchase of the E Bonds out of marital property also for the son's benefit. Lastly, appellant asserts that the trial court failed to divide equitably the marital property bank accounts.

It is firmly established in Illinois that the amount of child support lies within the sound discretion of the trial court and will not be set aside unless contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. (Riordan v. Riordan, 47 Ill. App.3d 1019, 365 N.E.2d 492 (1st Dist. 1977); Elizer v. Elizer, 36 Ill. App.3d 552, 344 N.E.2d 493 (5th Dist. 1976); Knox v. Knox, 31 Ill. App.3d 816, 334 N.E.2d 891 (1st Dist. 1975).) The enactment of the new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does not reduce the need for proper trial court discretion. Section 505, entitled "Child Support," states:

"[T]he court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for his support, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors, including:

(2) the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;

(3) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage ...

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