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03/24/87 In Re Marriage of Judith M. Chaltin

March 24, 1987

IN RE MARRIAGE OF JUDITH M. CHALTIN, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

and ARTHUR A. CHALTIN, Respondent-Appellant

506 N.E.2d 338, 153 Ill. App. 3d 810, 106 Ill. Dec. 631 1987.IL.358

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Michael D. Galasso, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

Justice Nash delivered the opinion of the court. Lindberg, P.J., and Unverzagt, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE NASH

Arthur Chaltin (the husband) appeals from an order of the circuit court denying his post-decree motion to modify the judgment of dissolution of his marriage to Judith Chaltin (the wife) to conform it to an alleged oral property settlement agreement between them.

The parties were married in 1962 and separated in 1978. The wife filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage in 1983, and they appeared in trial court on April 18, 1985, when, after proof of grounds, the court stated that a judgment of dissolution would be entered. The court then proceeded directly to a contested hearing on the remaining property issues; a stipulation was entered as to the value of certain marital property, and the court heard partial testimony as to other property matters, then continued the trial for further hearings. A further hearing held on August 21 was recessed, during which the parties discussed settlement of their property disputes.

On October 21, 1985, prior to the resumption of the proceedings, the husband filed a motion in which he alleged that the parties had entered into settlement negotiations with counsel and the court at the end of the proceedings on August 21, and had reached an oral property settlement agreement; that the case had been continued by agreement in order to reduce the settlement to writing; and that the husband had signed the written agreement, a copy of which was attached to his motion. The written property settlement agreement provided that the husband be awarded the former marital residence, his business property and beauty salon, and further provided that the husband pay the wife the sum of $20,000, of which $11,000 was to be paid within 60 days of the judgment, and $9,000 was to be paid in installments of $250 per month, without interest. The motion further alleged that the wife had refused to sign the written agreement and wished to resume the contested proceedings. The husband prayed for entry of a judgment of dissolution with allocation of their property in accordance with the terms of the alleged oral property settlement agreement.

In her response to the motion, the wife admitted that the parties had engaged in settlement negotiations, but she denied the existence of any oral agreement, and alleged "that any assertions made to the Court, as to any possible agreements, were made under duress because she felt that she was pressured by the Judge and abandoned by her attorney."

When the proceedings reconvened on November 1, 1985, the trial Judge stated:

"THE COURT: During the middle of the trial -- and I believe Mr. Chaltin was on the stand and being subjected to cross examination -- we had a recess. I talked to the parties without presence of counsel. I think I made that clear on the record also then. And it appeared that the matter had been settled based upon the statements of both Mr. and Mrs. Chaltin and their desire to get the matter over with. Apparently that agreement has now not been accepted by either one or both of the parties and it is Mrs. Chaltin's intent to conclude the hearing, is that correct?

MR. CLARKE [wife's attorney]: That's correct, your Honor.

THE COURT: Mr. Ward [Ward Fisher, husband's attorney], you had a motion for entry of judgment for dissolution of marriage based upon the evidence previously adduced and based upon the fact that Mrs. Chaltin ...


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