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In Re Marriage of Mayzner





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. William E. Peterson, Judge, presiding.


Respondent, Mark S. Mayzner, appeals from the property division and maintenance portions of a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County dissolving his marriage to petitioner Maria V. Mayzner. Respondent contends: (1) the trial court, as a matter of law, was required to reimburse him for his non-marital contributions toward the purchase and furnishing of the marital home; (2) the trial court's allocation of the marital property constituted an abuse of discretion; (3) the court erred in awarding Maria possession of the marital home for six years; (4) the amount and duration of the maintenance awarded to Maria constituted an abuse of discretion.

We affirm.

Both parties were 57 years old at the time of trial in 1984. Mark, with a doctorate in psychology, taught psychology at Loyola University, earning $49,300 (net $29,652) for nine months' work. (In past years he had also occasionally taught for a month in the summer including 1982 when he was paid $5,477 (net $3,925) for that month.) He also received $1,800 in stock dividends, for a total gross income of $51,100 in 1983.

Mark's non-marital property included stock valued at $25,000, checking accounts totaling $5,000, a car valued at $2,000, and a pension with a non-marital portion valued at $14,831. Thus, his total non-marital assets were valued at $46,831.

Maria had not worked during the parties' 13-year marriage and prior to that had not worked for 15 to 20 years. Her formal education ended after three years of high school. She had no trade school training and could neither type nor take dictation. Two strokes eight years earlier had left her with periodic instances of numbness to her face, right hand, knee and foot.

Maria's non-marital property included an anticipated $83,227 (before tax) inheritance from her father, an engagement ring from Mark with a replacement value of $30,000, and $2,300 in a checking account. Since she and her husband separated in May 1982 she had borrowed $12,000 from a brother for living expenses. Thus, her net property value was $103,577. Her estimated living expenses were approximately $2,000 a month.

At trial Mark contended that Maria should also be credited with certificates of deposit totaling about $78,000 which had been in joint tenancy with her father. However Maria testified that she was unaware of these certificates until after her father's death. Because she believed that he intended that all such funds should be part of his estate she had authorized the transfer of this money to that estate.

The parties' marital property included a condominium (the marital home), with $75,000 in equity, a $20,000 certificate of deposit, and the marital portion of Mark's pension, worth $20,000.

Mark testified that he had paid the $20,000 for their condominium from his own non-marital funds. He had also used $10,000 of his funds to purchase furniture. Maria testified that a housekeeper would come once every two weeks to "help." When cross-examined about whether she contributed any money to their certificate of deposit she testified, "My husband always worked and I took care of the other * * *." Mark's counsel cut off this answer at this point, instructing her to answer yes or no.

The judgment for dissolution, entered September 10, 1984, provided that the marital property would be divided as follows. Maria received the $20,000 certificate of deposit, Mark was awarded the entirety of his pension (including the $20,000 marital portion) and the parties were to divide the proceeds of the sale of their condominium in six years. Maria was awarded possession and occupancy of the condominium for six years with the stipulation that she pay all taxes, insurance premiums, assessments, and mortgage payments for that period. Maria was also awarded maintenance of $700 per month for six years or until her remarriage or the death of one of the parties, whichever event occurred first.

• 1 We first consider Mark's contention that he was entitled as a matter of law to reimbursement for the $30,000 in non-marital contributions that he made toward their condominium and its furnishings. Mark relies on section 503(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which provides in pertinent part:

"(c) Commingled marital and non-marital property shall be treated in the following manner, unless otherwise agreed by the spouses:

(1) When marital and non-marital property are commingled by contributing one estate of property into another resulting in a loss of identity of the contributed property, the classification of the contributed property is transmuted to the estate receiving the contribution, subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection; provided that if marital and non-marital property are commingled into newly acquired property resulting in a loss of identity of the contributing estates, the ...

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