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In Re Marriage of Thornqvist



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. CROWN, Judge, presiding.


Plaintiff appeals from an order distributing marital property under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 40, par. 101 et seq.). After petitioner was granted a default divorce on publication, the decree was opened up and thereafter an agreed order was entered allowing the dissolution of marriage to stand but vacating and setting aside all other portions of the default judgment. After a hearing concerning disposition of property, the trial court entered an order awarding respondent's shares in a co-owned corporation to petitioner. On appeal, respondent contends that (1) the Act is unconstitutional for several reasons; and (2) the trial court erred (a) in denying respondent's initial and renewed motions for temporary relief, (b) in awarding respondent's shares in the co-owned corporation stock to petitioner, (c) in denying maintenance to him, and (d) "in ruling on certain objections to questions on cross-examination."

There existed only 10 shares of the corporation stock and each of the parties owned five of those shares. It appears that prior to the entry of the order awarding respondent's shares to petitioner, he filed a motion for temporary relief requesting funds for transportation from Sweden, where he was then living, to Chicago so that he could participate in the proceedings. He filed a sworn verification, an affidavit, and a memorandum of law in support of the motion but, based upon its 1976 Federal income tax return, the court concluded that the corporation did not have sufficient funds to finance his transportation, and the motion was denied. The motion was renewed during the hearing concerning property rights and was again denied.

Petitioner, the sole witness at trial, testified that at the time of their marriage in May 1972 respondent had no assets but that she owned an automobile, a $15,000 art collection, and stock in Fidelity World Arts Corporation; that she worked at that time as a sales manager, and respondent was employed by her father; that in July 1972, she, her mother, and respondent signed a note for a bank loan in the amount of $7,500 for respondent's father's company; that when his father's company failed, she and respondent formed Thornqvist & Associates, Inc. (the corporation), to which she initially contributed $450 from the sale of her automobile, and the corporation also acquired furniture and merchandise from her father's business. She testified further that in September, 1975, she sold her Fidelity World Arts stock for $3,000 and invested the proceeds in the corporation; that in January 1976, the corporation borrowed $10,000 from a lending institution which was personally guaranteed by her and respondent; that she also borrowed $20,000 in February 1977, which she loaned to the corporation; and that the corporation was indebted to her for $27,958 but owed respondent nothing.

The court found that petitioner was entitled to all of the shares of stock because of the contributions she made to the corporation. It directed respondent to transfer his shares to her, and she was ordered to indemnify respondent for any indebtedness that they jointly incurred as guarantors for the corporation.


• 1 Respondent initially asserts that the Act is unconstitutional for multiple reasons. However, in Thompson v. Thompson (1979), 79 Ill. App.3d 310, 398 N.E.2d 17, we considered some of these same reasons and found that they were without merit. He first argues that the Act violates article IV, section 8(d) of the 1970 Illinois Constitution because it encompasses more than one subject; namely, that it includes both marriage and divorce, which have always been treated as separate subjects of law; that the custody provisions may be applied whether or not a marriage is involved; and that the Act purports to deal with child support after the death of a parent, which is covered by the Probate Act. However, in rejecting this argument we adopt our reasoning in Thompson, where it was stated:

"The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was enacted to create a uniform law governing domestic relations. The provisions questioned by respondent merely define the nature and scope of the Act's operation and relate to the firm establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive system regulating this single subject. All the provisions are germane to domestic relations and are reasonably necessary to accomplish the legislative purpose. We find no violation of the single-subject requirement of the 1970 Illinois Constitution." 79 Ill. App.3d 310, 313.

Furthermore, section 8(d) of article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 makes possible the combining of a number of statutory items into one bill where the purpose is (1) codification; (2) revision; or (3) rearrangement of laws. This appears to be exactly the objective accomplished by the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Respondent also contends that section 503(c) violates the doctrines of separation of powers and due process. He argues that this section is so vague and indefinite that (1) the courts> would be required "to complete an incomplete statute" and, to that extent, it was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power; and (2) it violates the due process requirement of definiteness.

A statute may be unconstitutionally vague when its meaning depends on the whims of the trier of fact rather than upon objective criteria or facts (People v. Belcastro (1934), 356 Ill. 144, 190 N.E. 301); but, as stated in Tometz v. Board of Education (1968), 39 Ill.2d 593, 604, 237 N.E.2d 498, 504:

"A statute need not always define each of its terms and detail each of its procedures. `It is only where the legislative act is so indefinite and uncertain that courts> are unable to determine what the legislature intended, or when the act is so incomplete or inconsistent that it cannot be executed, that the law will be invalidated by reason of indefiniteness or uncertainty.' [Citations.]"

Further, in determination of whether a statute is unconstitutionally indefinite, a consideration of the legislative objective and purposes is required. People v. Schwartz (1976), 64 Ill.2d 275, 356 N.E.2d 8, cert. denied (1977), 429 U.S. 1098, 51 L.Ed.2d 545, 97 S.Ct. 1116.

Section 503(c), after stating that all marital property is to be divided "in just proportions considering all relevant factors," lists 10 such factors. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 40, par. 503(c).) Defendant argues that the use of the term "relevant factors" is vague and indefinite and that the 10 listed factors are evidentiary in nature and not objective standards, so that "[e]ach judge can and ...

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