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In Re Marriage of Walsh

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 10, 1982.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF MARIE T. WALSH, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, AND EDMUND P. WALSH, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Henry A. Gentile, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WILSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a bifurcated trial where the trial court entered its judgment for dissolution of marriage making specific findings as to the disposition of property, maintenance, educational expenses and attorney fees. Respondent presents these issues for review, that the trial court (1) abused its discretion in providing for the disposition of property; (2) abused its discretion in providing for maintenance for petitioner; (3) abused its discretion in providing for maintenance and educational expenses for two adult children; (4) abused its discretion in providing for the payment of attorney fees; and (5) abused its discretion in the totality of its judgment for dissolution of marriage. The pertinent facts follow.

The parties were married on January 29, 1949, and have five children. Only two are currently college students. Petitioner is 53 years of age and is currently employed as a part-time sales clerk earning approximately $11,000 gross per year. Respondent is 62 years of age and currently earning approximately $26,000 gross per year. Petitioner filed for divorce on January 25, 1979, and a judgment was entered by the trial court on October 10, 1980. The judgment provided that, pending further order of the court, exclusive possession of the marital residence would be awarded to petitioner, based upon a specific finding that her mental and physical well-being was endangered by respondent's continued habitation in the residence.

On December 17, 1980, an order was entered setting the sum of $100 per week as unallocated child support and maintenance and further setting January 7, 1981, for a pretrial conference. No record of proceedings was transcribed on that day nor was there any record of proceedings transcribed on January 7, 1981. On February 11, 1981, petitioner filed a verified petition indicating the amount of temporary support was inadequate and requesting that respondent pay her one-half of his net income. The petition was entered and continued until March 6, 1981, at which time an order was entered requiring both parties to produce certain documents. However, no report of proceedings was made for that date. The matter was continued until May 13, 1981, at which time the report of proceedings indicated that the court advised them to produce a stipulation. The stipulation was submitted on or about May 20, 1981, along with a document listing the expenses of petitioner and children and an attorney's affidavit in support of a request for attorney fees.

During the final in-chambers conference, the trial court directed that a judgment be drafted setting forth the terms of its ruling which was entered on July 8, 1981. Respondent filed a timely post-trial motion requesting a rehearing or modification of the judgment. On September 14, 1981, the court heard argument on this motion and denied it. The judgment in pertinent part provides that:

Support and Maintenance

(1) Respondent is to pay petitioner $550 per month retroactive to October 10, 1980, as unallocated family support payments for petitioner and the parties' minor daughter, Margaret. An arrearage of $900 shall be paid instanter.

(2) After September 1, 1981, respondent is to pay petitioner the sum of $400 per month maintenance, terminated only by the death or remarriage of petitioner.

Educational Expenses and Maintenance

(1) Respondent is to pay 75% of the college education expenses for Maureen and Margaret, including tuition, room, board, books, fees and cost of three round-trips between college and home per year.

(2) Respondent shall be solely responsible for all extraordinary medical and dental expenses for Margaret and Maureen until they graduate from college, and shall maintain major medical and hospitalization insurance coverage for them.

(3) Respondent shall pay current dental bill of $140 for Margaret and Maureen.

(4) Respondent shall maintain a total face amount of $15,000 in life insurance for minor [sic] children while they are in college, naming them as ...


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