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In Re Marriage of Cabaj

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 17, 1983.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF JANICE M. CABAJ, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, AND JAMES N. CABAJ, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Michael S. Jordan, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In this marital case, James N. Cabaj (respondent) appeals from a judgment for dissolution entered in favor of Janice M. Cabaj (petitioner). The parties were married on June 16, 1962. They have three children: James M., born March 29, 1970; Debra L., July 10, 1973; and Kimberly A., October 15, 1974. The only points raised pertain to the division of marital property and the allowance of attorney fees to petitioner's counsel. The division of household assets was by agreement of the parties.

The parties lived in a jointly owned, six-room residence. An appraisal fixed the value of the premises at $81,000 subject to a mortgage of $15,011.20 with equity of $65,988.80. The mortgage is payable at $273.88 per month. The parties own a vacant lot in Florida jointly with petitioner's parents. The value of the lot is $3,000.

The husband is employed with a gross annual salary of about $25,000. He has a net take-home pay of $16,883 per year. He thought his biweekly net pay was approximately $655. The wife was employed prior to the birth of the first child. But, she has not worked regularly for some years. She is employed as a part-time domestic, from which she realizes about $200 per month. She has written a book which has been accepted for publication. She anticipates an advance which may possibly be slightly over $1,500.

The children are apparently in good health, except the older girl has disabilities because of her bad vision and hearing, and she also has a speech problem.

The respondent has pension rights in connection with a former employment. He made contributions to the pension. A qualified actuary testified that the present cash value of the pension is $10,505.84. These pension payments are not available until respondent becomes 65 years old. He testified his checking account balance was $400 and that he has no other assets. He expressed the opinion that the health problems of the oldest daughter are improving. He presently owes his parents $2,000.

However, the respondent also has a serious problem with his vision. He has a disease of the eyes known as retinitis pigmentosis. He can no longer drive an automobile at night. In a motion filed by respondent's counsel after the entry of judgment herein (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 110, par. 2-1203), counsel for respondent represented that he had inadvertently overlooked a letter from an eye surgeon. This letter, appended to respondent's motion, states respondent's vision is quite limited and "he is legally blind." The letter adds the prognosis is guarded and cannot be predicted.

The judgment for dissolution of marriage described the property of the parties and ordered:

(1) Respondent is to pay petitioner $234 every two weeks as unallocated maintenance and child support until the death of respondent.

(2) Respondent is to receive his entire pension fund from his former employment ($10,505.84).

(3) Respondent is to receive all of petitioner's one-half interest in the vacant land in Florida ($1,500).

(4) Respondent is to pay all extraordinary dental and health care for the minor children.

(5) Respondent is to pay a $2,000 debt due his parents.

(6) Respondent is also required to pay petitioner's attorney fees in the amount of $2,355 and court costs ...


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