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In Re Marriage of Rogers



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. FREDERICK HENZI, Judge, presiding.


Respondent, Robert Rogers (husband), appeals from an order of the Circuit Court of Du Page County dissolving his marriage with petitioner, Mary Ann Rogers (wife). No issue has been raised concerning the dissolution of marriage itself. Instead the husband challenges the distribution of the parties' property, the award of maintenance, and the payment of attorney's fees.

The wife filed a complaint for divorce in 1976. An amended petition for dissolution of marriage was filed in 1977. The parties were married in 1956 and therefore had been married approximately 21 1/2 years at the time of the hearing. They have two children, a daughter 20 years of age and a son 18 years of age. Both children reside with the wife in the family residence in Wheaton, Illinois. The daughter works full time. The son works part time and planned to attend the College of Du Page. The wife is a recovered alcoholic. At the time of the hearing, she had not had a drink in five years. The wife has some typing skills and was working part time as a typist for a local newspaper, earning approximately $51 a week. In addition, she was attending beauty school, which she expected to complete in 1978. She testified that she made approximately $8 per week in tips from beauty school customers.

The husband had been unemployed for a period of approximately eight months, from July 1977 to March 1978. At that time, he became employed by a Denver company as a manufacturing manager. He testified that his net monthly income was $1535, and that his gross yearly salary was $33,000. The family residence, in Wheaton, was held in joint tenancy. The home was built for the parties in 1971 for an original cost of approximately $71,000. The original mortgage was approximately $38,000. The wife testified that the home was valued at approximately $105,000 to $110,000 as of September 1977.

In addition to the residence, both parties owned shares of stocks in various companies. The wife stated that she owned shares of stock in Curtis-Wright, Greyhound and Edison Company. She testified that the value of the stock was very small, probably less than a thousand dollars. However, she did not know the exact value of the stocks. The husband testified that he owned 25 shares of stock in the MCI Corporation, which were worth approximately $1.75 a share, and 90 shares of stock in Triangle Corporation, which were worth approximately $3 a share.

During the course of the marriage, both parties also inherited some money. The wife inherited about $12,000. She testified that some of the money was kept segregated from other family assets and that some of it went into the family. She further testified that approximately $600 remained from the amount that was kept segregated. The wife stated that she used the money for expenses during the past year, including mortgage payments and real estate taxes. The husband inherited approximately $65,000 in cash and securities in 1967. As an offer of proof, he testified that approximately $30,000 went into real estate, approximately $8,000 went to capital gain taxes, and between $5,000 and $8,000 went into various expenses, such as furniture. The husband further testified that as of 1974, the total inheritance was gone.

After a hearing regarding the parties' respective property rights, the trial court issued a memorandum which provided in substance as follows:

1. The marital residence was to be sold within three years of the date of entry of judgment. The wife had the right to remain in possession until the property was sold, and had the right to purchase the husband's share of the property. The wife was responsible for mortgage payments, taxes, etc.; the husband's interest in the marital residence was set at $20,000 with interest compounded at the rate of 7% annually;

2. The household furnishings were to be the sole and exclusive property of the wife;

3. Husband was required to pay to the wife the sum of $500 per month for a period of three years from the date of judgment as maintenance;

4. Husband was ordered to contribute to the son's college expenses;

5. Husband was assigned his shares of stock in the MCI and Triangle Corporations;

6. Husband was ordered to pay the wife's attorney's ...

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