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In Re Marriage of Lasusa



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. REUBEN J. LIFFSHIN, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied February 4, 1980.

Betty L. LaSusa, petitioner, sued Anthony LaSusa, respondent, for divorce. The trial court granted the divorce, awarded unallocated alimony and child support to petitioner and divided property between the parties. Petitioner appeals from the award of alimony and property.

The parties were married on November 5, 1950, and were divorced in June 1977. They have two daughters, who were 13 and 20 years old respectively at the time of the divorce. Petitioner was awarded custody of the minor child. After granting the divorce, the trial court reserved ruling on the issues of alimony, child support and division of property. Trial was held concerning these issues on June 8, June 20 and July 1, 1977.

Petitioner's and respondent's testimony at trial showed that the marital home in Norridge, Illinois, was in a land trust and petitioner and respondent jointly owned the beneficial interest. Respondent valued the home at $75,000 to $80,000, with an outstanding mortgage of $16,800. In addition, petitioner and respondent jointly owned a vacant lot in Boca Raton, Florida, which respondent valued at $20,000. Each also owned an automobile.

During the marriage, respondent and Robert Beaulieu had been partners in Beaulieu Realtors. Beaulieu Realtors was incorporated in June 1977 and respondent and Robert Beaulieu were the sole stockholders. Respondent and Robert Beaulieu had purchased several pieces of real estate while they were partners. At the time of the divorce, respondent and Robert Beaulieu each owned a one-half interest in a condominium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a 12-unit apartment building located at 1717 Leland Avenue, Chicago, and a building containing an office and eight apartments located at 5341 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Also, respondent, Beaulieu and another individual each owned a one-third interest in a vacant lot in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Respondent valued the condominium at $42,000, with a $7000 mortgage. He valued the apartment building on Leland Avenue at $35,000, with a mortgage of $32,000. Respondent testified that the building on Belmont Avenue was worth $200,000 to $225,000, with a mortgage of $155,000. He valued the vacant lot in Des Plaines at $288,000. It had been purchased with a loan on which there was a balance of $280,000. Respondent further stated that petitioner had co-signed the note and mortgage on the Belmont Avenue building. In addition, petitioner's one-half beneficial interest in the marital home had been pledged, along with respondent's one-half, to secure a line of credit with which respondent and Beaulieu had partially financed various real estate acquisitions.

At the time of the divorce respondent had $1000 in a checking account and $9000 in a savings account; the latter had been pledged as security for a $15,000 loan with which respondent had paid federal income taxes. Respondent, Robert Beaulieu, and another individual each owned one-third of the stock in C.L.B. Corporation, a Chicago real estate office, and respondent received yearly dividends of from $3000 to $6000 on this stock. In addition, respondent had 6800 to 6900 shares in a retirement plan, which he valued at $3.56 or $3.66 per share; benefits were not payable until he retired. Respondent owned $500 worth of stock options and two $100,000 life insurance policies on his own life. He was also the trustee of two separate bank accounts for his daughters. Each account contained $8100 and was intended for his daughters' college educations. Petitioner never deposited any money in these accounts, and respondent, at the time of the divorce, was under a court order enjoining him from using the money.

At the time of the divorce, respondent's salary from Beaulieu Realtors was $300 per week, plus an additional $1000 per month. The trial court stated that respondent's income was listed as $64,000 on his tax return for one of the years prior to the divorce, but that respondent's testimony showed that his present income was less because Beaulieu Realtor's business was not as successful as it had been. Petitioner testified that respondent listed his income as $48,000 on his 1974 tax return.

Respondent was living with his parents in a Chicago apartment at the time of the divorce. He was paying them $100 a month rent and $30 a month for the telephone. In addition, the older daughter had started attending college in September 1975 and respondent was paying $4600 a year for her tuition and board, and was giving her $100 per month for spending money.

Petitioner testified that she was not employed and had not been employed while married, and that she had recently had surgery to improve her blood circulation.

The parties finished presenting evidence on July 1, 1977. The trial court at that time orally stated in detail the terms of its decision awarding alimony, child support and property. Those same terms were subsequently set forth in a written supplemental decree entered by the court on November 8, 1977. Under those terms respondent was required to: pay $1000 per month as unallocated alimony and child support; pay up to $55 per month for hospitalization and major medical insurance for petitioner, and maintain hospitalization and medical insurance for both of his daughters; pay all of his daughters' extraordinary medical expenses until their emancipation or until they complete their college education, whichever occurs later; maintain the $200,000 of life insurance on his life, with his daughters the beneficiaries for $150,000 and with petitioner a beneficiary for $50,000; pay for a four-year college education for each daughter; and pay petitioner's attorney fees.

Petitioner was allowed to remain in the marital home until their youngest daughter was emancipated or reached 18, or completed her high school education, or ceased living with petitioner, or the parties agreed to sell the home, whichever event occurred first. When the first of these events occurred, the house would be sold. Until sold, petitioner was to pay the interest on the mortgage and for upkeep of the home, with respondent to pay the principal on the mortgage, for which he would receive a credit against the proceeds of the sale. The remainder of the proceeds of the sale would be divided equally between the parties. The furniture, fixtures, furnishings and equipment in the marital home were awarded to petitioner.

Title to the Florida lot was to be changed from joint tenancy to tenancy in common, and the property could be sold upon written request of either party, the proceeds to be divided equally. Respondent at his discretion could sell his interest in the Florida condominium he owned jointly with Robert Beaulieu. When ...

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