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In Re Marriage of Rothbardt

OPINION FILED AUGUST 18, 1981.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF STANLEY ROTHBARDT, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, AND MARLENE ROTHBARDT, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MILTON H. SOLOMON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The parties to this appeal, Marlene Rothbardt (hereinafter Marlene) and Stanley Rothbardt (hereinafter Stanley), were married on August 27, 1966. The marriage was dissolved on December 24, 1980, by order of the circuit court of Cook County. Marlene was awarded custody of the parties' son and only child. No objection is made to the finding that the marriage should be dissolved, nor to the child custody award.

Marlene appeals from the January 29, 1981, supplemental judgment order. Specifically she contends: (1) that the trial court failed to consider her contribution as a homemaker; (2) that the court erred in awarding to Stanley shares of stocks classified as marital property without first making a finding as to the value of such stocks; (3) that the court erred in limiting to a period of nine months Marlene's maintenance award of $399 per month and expressly barring her from further maintenance; (4) that the court erred in awarding possession of the marital home to Marlene, without prior appraisal and conditioned on her payment to Stanley, within two years, of a sum equal to 30 percent of the home's value, minus the outstanding mortgage balance; and (5) that the court disregarded the "dissipation" of marital funds by Stanley, resulting from his borrowing against the value of one life insurance policy and cashing in certain other life insurance policies.

For the reasons hereinafter stated, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

I

Marlene's first contention is that the trial court failed to consider her contribution to the marriage as a homemaker. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires that 10 factors be considered by the trial court in determining the apportionment of marital property. One of these factors is a spouse's contribution as a homemaker:

"(c) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage * * * the court 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; * * *." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 40, par. 503(c)(1). *fn1

Marlene testified at trial that from the date of her marriage in August 1966 until June of 1973 she worked full-time as a teacher. On January 21, 1972, the parties' son and only child, Carey, was born. Carey has an I.Q. of 70 and suffers multiple learning disabilities. Marlene claims that throughout the marriage she cooked meals for the family, cleaned the house, did the laundry, sewed, decorated, kept household books and made lunches for her husband. She also assisted her husband in his employment as a teacher, advising him on the preparation of visual aids, lesson plans and examinations and teaching him how to curve a grading scale.

During a colloquy with counsel for Marlene, the trial judge asked: "Are you talking about who did the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dusting? I'm not even interested in that * * *. I don't think it will have anything to do with how this case will be decided." (Emphasis added.) The judge later stated, "We have a situation here where, forgetting about the contribution that the parties have made, we have one asset that really has any value at all. That's the marital home." (Emphasis added.)

In apportioning marital assets, the trial court is statutorily mandated to consider each of the 10 factors set forth in section 503(c). Thus in the case of In re Marriage of Fryer (1980), 88 Ill. App.3d 454, 457, 410 N.E.2d 596, the court stated:

"The result then is that if an examination of the entire record reveals that the trial court was aware of the requirements of section 503(c) and * * * arrived at an ultimate disposition in harmony with the rationale of the statute, no abuse of discretion has occurred. * * * Likewise, if a trial court should state positively that it is disregarding one or all of the items * * * an abuse of discretion has occurred." (Emphasis added.)

In In re Marriage of Aschwanden (1980), 82 Ill.2d 31, 37, 411 N.E.2d 238, the Illinois Supreme Court stated, "We note that the Act expressly directs the court to consider the contributions of a spouse as a homemaker." (Emphasis added.) See also In re Marriage of Komnick (1981), 84 Ill.2d 89, 417 N.E.2d 1305.

• 1 Since the trial judge in the instant case expressly stated that he was "not interested" in Marlene's contribution as a homemaker, we must conclude that an abuse of discretion has occurred.

II

Marlene's second contention is that the trial court erred in allocating to Stanley all of the shares of stock owned in joint tenancy by the parties. *fn2 The trial court made no finding as to the value of the stock. Marlene argues that without evidence of the value of the stock, it was not possible for the trial court to divide the marital property in "just proportions" as required by the statute. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 40, par. 503(c).

While the distribution of marital property need not be mathematically equal and is a matter of discretion, the trial court is required to consider certain statutory factors in making the division. (In re Marriage of Thornton (1980), 89 Ill. App.3d 1078, 412 N.E.2d 1336.) Among these factors is the value of the property set apart to each spouse. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 40, par. 503(c)(2).) In the instant case the trial court awarded all of the furniture and furnishings in the marital home to Marlene. The furnishings were valued between $30,000 new and $5,000 used. The court awarded to Stanley all stocks and a 1976 Cutlass automobile valued at approximately $1,500. The trial judge, without determining the value of the stock, stated that he was setting off the value of the furniture against the value of the car and the stock.

• 2 The trial court, in distributing marital property, is not required to make specific findings of fact as to the value of each item in dispute, nor is it always necessary for the court to set forth the facts on which an order is based. (In re Marriage of Thompson (1979), 79 Ill. App.3d 310, 316, 398 N.E.2d 17.) In the case at bar, however, in the absence of evidence of the stock's value, a reviewing court cannot readily determine the reasonableness of the trial court's action in awarding the stock and the car to Stanley, supposedly offset by the award of furniture to Marlene. Thus, there is no basis in the record on which we can determine whether the trial court's award was a distribution in "just proportions." Accordingly, we find that the trial court erred in failing to ...


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