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In Re Marriage of Rittmeyer



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. DENNIS JACOBSEN, Judge, presiding.


The petitioner, Maxine Ann Rittmeyer, appeals from the denial of her petition for dissolution of marriage.

On March 10, 1982, this court dismissed the appeal on the basis that petitioner failed to file a timely post-trial motion. Petitioner made a motion to reconsider that order and a motion to supplement the record with a timely filed post-trial motion which the clerk of the circuit court has attested was inadvertently omitted from the record. No objection to the motions have been filed. Therefore, it is ordered that the motion to supplement the record be, and hereby is, granted.

The parties have been married for 7 years and have two children, ages 4 and 1. At the time of the hearing on the petition the parties had separated. Efforts at reconciliation with the aid of a counselor have failed.

Petitioner testified that respondent's family has not approved of her, which has caused problems between the parties. Total lack of communication and jealousy were the reasons for the separation. Respondent wanted petitioner to devote full time to being a wife and mother; however, he disapproved of many of the things she did as a mother. Although respondent accepted her employment outside of the home, he did not approve of that employment. Respondent is jealous of anything, including bowling, which would draw petitioner's attention away from being a wife and mother. On occasion, petitioner would come home drunk from her activities. Petitioner does not feel that when she has a good time and drinks to excess it should be held against her. On one occasion, he disapproved of her yelling at the children. Three years prior to the hearing respondent went looking for petitioner and found her dancing with a man at the Sugar Mill after the bowling night. The parties argued in public, but he did not strike her nor has he ever struck her. When petitioner has too much alcohol to drink, respondent tells her that he disapproves; however, the problem is never thoroughly discussed. Respondent would ask "ninety questions," and petitioner would see no reason for the questioning. The questioning would also occur if she went shopping for a longer period of time than respondent thought that she should be shopping. There was always a sense of foreboding when she came home. When she drinks to excess, it is not due to respondent's criticism but because she enjoys a good time.

Petitioner admitted that respondent has been a good husband and father. Petitioner further admitted that respondent is not a habitual drunkard, has not committed adultery, and has not raised his voice to her. Petitioner admitted that lack of communication was as much her fault as his, because she would get upset and emotional.

Petitioner denied having an affair or having any ongoing relationship with a man other than respondent; however, she felt that the marriage was irretrievably broken.

Respondent testified that he was not concerned about her bowling but her coming home very late. He was worried that she might have a wreck if she drank too much. He told petitioner that he did not approve of her staying out late. He always wanted to know where she had been, because he was her husband. She first accused him of forcing religion on her when they discussed a possible divorce. If petitioner wanted to do something of which he totally disapproved, she would not do it, but he would give her a reason why he disapproved. Petitioner usually went out two nights a month by herself.

Respondent further testified that he loved his wife and that if she would try counseling on a continuing basis their problems may be solved. In the past, she would say she needed things and after he bought them, she would change her mind. Respondent was hoping she would change her mind about a dissolution of marriage.

• 1 Section 401 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 40, par. 401) provides in part:

"Sec. 401. Dissolution of marriage

The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage (formerly known as divorce) if:

(2) the court finds that, without cause or provocation by the petitioner: either party at the time of such marriage was, and continues to be naturally impotent; or either party had a wife or husband living at the time of such marriage; or either party has committed adultery subsequent to the marriage, or has wilfully deserted or absented himself or herself from the husband or wife for the space of one years, or has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of 2 years, or has been guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of 2 years, or has attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice, or has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, or has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime or has infected the other with a communicable venereal disease. `Excessive use of addictive drugs', as used in this Section, refers to use of an addictive drug by a person when using the drug becomes a controlling or a dominant purpose of his life."

The dissolution of marriage statute is to be strictly construed, and a dissolution of marriage is to be granted for one of the causes enumerated therein. Graham v. Graham ...

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