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In Re Marriage of Lasota

OPINION FILED JUNE 19, 1984.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF DONALD LASOTA, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, AND CAROLYN LASOTA, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. John Ryan, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

A dissolution of marriage judgment was entered in the circuit court of Cook County on April 16, 1980, in the marriage of respondent Carolyn Lasota (Carolyn) and petitioner Donald Lasota (Donald). In a post-judgment proceeding arising from the dissolution, the trial court denied Carolyn's petition for an increase in maintenance and granted Donald's petition for termination of maintenance. Carolyn appeals the trial court's orders.

For the reasons hereinafter stated, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Carolyn and Donald Lasota were married in Cook County on March 27, 1976. No children were born of this marriage. The order of dissolution provided that Donald pay to Carolyn maintenance of $35 per week, "based on her making $87 every two weeks."

On June 29, 1981, because Donald had lost his job and was receiving only $268 per month in Veteran's disability compensation, the trial court reduced the amount of maintenance payments to $11.67 per week.

On December 30, 1982, Carolyn petitioned for an increase in maintenance alleging that her living expenses have increased considerably since April 1980; that Donald is employed and "can well afford to contribute more maintenance" to her; that she "has been unemployed since September 1982, and although seeking employment, remains unemployed at the present time"; and that "the $11.67 per week maintenance obligation of [Donald] is unreasonable in light of the ability of [Donald] to pay more and the present needs of [Carolyn]."

On February 15, 1983, Donald petitioned for modification or termination of his maintenance payments to Carolyn.

Pending the hearing, the court entered a temporary order increasing maintenance payments to $60 per week.

At the maintenance hearing, Donald testified that in June 1981, when the court directed maintenance payments of $11.67 per week, he was unemployed. In August 1981 he became employed as a maintenance man at the building located at 1400 Lake Shore Drive. Donald received two promotions at this job and is currently supervisor of the building. Donald, who now resides with his new wife and her child, earns $842 gross every two weeks from his employment and receives $311 per month in disability compensation from the Veteran's Administration. Donald testified that his expenses amount to $1,658 per month. He stated further that two weeks prior to the maintenance hearing he had an operation for a retinal detachment in his left eye and was unable to work for two weeks. He will receive pay for the one week he was in the hospital.

Carolyn testified that until October 3, 1982, at which time she lost her job, she worked as a waitress at the Montclare Lanes Bowling Alley, earning about $4 per hour. She collected unemployment compensation in the amount of $45 per week until December 25, 1982. Carolyn submitted to the court a list of approximately 80 restaurants, bars and bowling alleys at which she claimed to have sought employment. *fn1 She currently supports herself with money she saved when she worked, with money she receives from her ex-husband from a previous marriage, *fn2 and with $5,000 that her father had given to her in 1981. Carolyn stated, however, that she has spent all the money she received from her father. Carolyn claimed that her monthly expenses amount to $830 and that her rent was scheduled to be increased from $335 per month to $375 per month. From her previous marriage Carolyn has a 19-year-old daughter who attends the Moody Bible Institute and resides at the school. Carolyn "sometimes" contributes to her daughter's support.

The trial court terminated Carolyn's maintenance stating that "maintenance should be given with the purpose that it eventually be terminated. And that's the basis upon which I made the overall ruling."

Carolyn's motion for reconsideration was denied.

I

Carolyn contends that the trial court abused its discretion in terminating her maintenance and argues that she is entitled to continued maintenance because she "is unemployed and unable to find a job, and ...


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