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Bentley v. Bentley

OPINION FILED JANUARY 20, 1981.

IRENE BENTLEY, APPELLANT,

v.

GEORGE BENTLEY, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Monica D. Reynolds, Judge, presiding.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied March 27, 1981.

Plaintiff, Irene Bentley, filed an action in the circuit court of Cook County against defendant, George Bentley, seeking a divorce, alimony, attorney's fees, and "an equitable division of all property jointly owned by the parties." Defendant answered and filed a countercomplaint for divorce and partition, to which the plaintiff filed an answer and reply. Because this action was pending on its effective date, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (hereinafter the Dissolution Act) applies. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 40, par. 801(b).) The circuit court entered judgment dissolving the marriage and distributing the marital and non-marital property. Plaintiff appealed, the appellate court affirmed (82 Ill. App.3d 25), and we granted plaintiff's petition for leave to appeal (73 Ill.2d R. 315(a)). The opinion of the appellate court adequately sets forth the evidence and the portions of the circuit court judgment concerning property distribution, and they will be reviewed here only to the extent necessary to discuss the issues.

As she did in the appellate court, plaintiff makes a number of contentions with respect to the alleged inequities of the property distribution. Because of the circumstances shown by this record and the issues presented, we must first determine whether under the provisions of section 503(a) of the Dissolution Act the increase in value of certain real estate, admittedly "non-marital property," was "marital property."

Section 503 of the Dissolution Act provides in part:

"(a) For purposes of this Act, `marital property' means all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage, except the following, which is known as `non-marital property':

(1) property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent;

(5) the increase in value of property acquired before the marriage;

(b) All property acquired by either spouse after the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage is presumed to be marital property, * * *. The presumption of marital property is overcome by a showing that the property was acquired by a method listed in subsection (a) of this Section.

(c) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage * * * the court shall assign each spouse's non-marital property to that spouse. It also shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions considering all relevant factors, including:

(1) the contribution or dissipation of each party in the acquisition, preservation, or depreciation or appreciation in value, of the marital and non-marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit;

(4) the relevant economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, * * *;

(7) the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties;

(10) the reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income." Ill. Rev. ...


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