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04/17/87 In Re Marriage of Mirjana Petrovich

April 17, 1987



and MILAN PETROVICH, Respondent-Appellant

507 N.E.2d 207, 154 Ill. App. 3d 881, 107 Ill. Dec. 543 1987.IL.521

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Edmund P. Bart, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court. REINHARD, J., concurs. JUSTICE UNVERZAGT, Dissenting.


Petitioner, Mirjana Petrovich, brought this action to dissolve her marriage to respondent, Milan Petrovich. The trial court dissolved the marriage and subsequently entered a supplemental judgment on March 5, 1985, disposing of all questions of property distribution. The respondent appeals from the entry of that supplemental judgment, as well as from the order entered by the trial court on June 27, 1986, denying his motion for post-trial relief. The respondent contends that the trial court erred in finding him guilty of dissipation of marital assets, in awarding practically all the marital property to petitioner, and in requiring him to pay 30% of the educational expenses of the couple's daughter.

The parties were married on September 24, 1960. At the time of trial, petitioner was 60 years old and respondent was 58. The parties had one daughter, Helena, who was 19 years old and a college student at the time of trial.

During the marriage, petitioner had an active practice in psychiatry. Petitioner paid all the family bills from her income. In February 1983, petitioner was diagnosed as suffering from thrombocytic purpura, a disabling blood disease. She was hospitalized for six days. She returned to work in April 1983, but from September 1983 until March 1984 she was unable to work. Her practice diminished from a $70,000 to $80,000 level to a $35,000 to $45,000 level during the pendency of this action. In 1984, she claimed a $25,000 income and $25,000 in accounts receivable which she valued as uncollectible. At the time of trial, her practice was limited to seeing only a few patients, and she had been advised by her doctor to stop working completely.

Respondent was employed until 1971 as a project engineer for International Harvester. After his retirement in 1971, respondent stayed home in order to become a self-made investor.

The parties separated in 1979. Petitioner filed for dissolution of marriage on December 6, 1979. Trial commenced on October 19, 1984.

Petitioner testified that she gave to respondent over $368,000, which he invested in the stock market. He would tell petitioner to write checks, and she would comply. Respondent maintained exclusive control over the investment accounts and made all the decisions regarding the investments. He would tell petitioner how the stocks were doing only "depending on where she was available and when she was asking." She kept a ledger of the amounts she turned over to respondent for investment purposes. She ceased making payments to respondent for stock purchases approximately one year after they separated, in 1981. By May 1981, the value of their investments had risen to more than $2 million, a fact which petitioner was unaware of until May 1983. Though he requested that she remortgage the house for investment purposes in 1982, she refused. At trial, these holdings had dwindled to somewhere between $14,000 and $20,000. Respondent offered no evidence to show the accounts in which he had invested petitioner's money, and he did not account for the losses other than by stating that he made poor long-term investments.

Respondent admitted that after the separation he opened up accounts in his own name and he alone decided in which accounts he would place funds. None of these separate accounts were ever identified in his testimony or in discovery. (Respondent was likewise unable to identify which stocks he had invested in during the marriage.) He also admitted that he took money out of accounts and placed it "in some other places," and that he received cash from the accounts "all the time."

Respondent testified to personally owning stocks worth a net value of approximately $15,000, his joint interest in the marital home, and some unvalued furniture and clothing. He claimed debts of approximately $30,250. His monthly expense was $800 per month.

Petitioner had assets in various forms. The marital home was valued at approximately $250,000. She also testified to having four cars, various savings and checking accounts, several brokerage accounts, and a deferred annuity, all totaling approximately $311,679.55. Petitioner stated that she had incurred approximately $20,694.64 in debts as of the time of trial.

In the supplemental judgment for dissolution of marriage, the trial court found that respondent had dissipated substantial marital funds exceeding $2 million. The court awarded the marital home and psychiatric practice to the petitioner. Three outstanding debts in the aggregate total of $22,000 were apportioned to petitioner. The court divided the substantial credit card debts between petitioner and respondent, making petitioner responsible for 70% of those debts. Petitioner was to be responsible for 70% of the daughter's expenses while attending college; respondent was responsible for 30%. Each party was responsible for their own attorney fees. Two cars were awarded to each party. The investment tax credit carry-overs were ...

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