APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
and ROBERT S. KRISTIE, Respondent-Appellant
510 N.E.2d 14, 156 Ill. App. 3d 821, 109 Ill. Dec. 393 1987.IL.726
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Herbert Friedlund, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL and BUCKLEY, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR
Respondent, Robert S. Kristie, appeals from the apportionment of property and the award of maintenance to petitioner, Marilyn S. Kristie, following dissolution of the marriage. He also appeals from the trial court's order denying his motion for rehearing. We affirm.
The parties were married for 36 years and have six children, all of whom are emancipated. At the time of the hearing to determine maintenance and allocate property, both of the parties were employed and in good health.
The husband's first argument is that the award of permanent maintenance in the amount of $400 per month, terminable upon remarriage, cohabitation or the death of petitioner, was an abuse of discretion. He claims that the wife failed to prove both that she was entitled to maintenance pursuant to section 504(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA or Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 504(a)) and that she was entitled to such a substantial amount for an unlimited period under section 504(b) of the Act. We disagree.
Section 504(a) of the IMDMA requires that in order for a court to grant maintenance, it must find that the spouse seeking it lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs, is either unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment, or is otherwise without sufficient income.
The trial courts have wide latitude in determining what needs are reasonable and must decide on a case by case basis, taking into consideration such factors as the circumstances of the parties, the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage and the social position of the spouse seeking maintenance. The trial court must exercise its discretion in awarding or denying maintenance and its determination is presumed to be correct. (In re Marriage of Simmons (1980), 87 Ill. App. 3d 651, 657, 409 N.E.2d 321.) A maintenance award will not be set aside unless it is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. In re Marriage of Westphal (1981), 99 Ill. App. 3d 1042, 1045, 426 N.E.2d 303, appeal denied (1981), 88 Ill. 2d 555.
The husband challenges the maintenance award on the basis that the wife has been employed as a receptionist for 10 years and is therefore able to support herself through appropriate employment. He argues that she had a net income of $227 per week which she voluntarily reduced to $137 per week through discretionary credit union deductions. He also points out that the wife received free hospitalization coverage from her employer, the mortgage would be paid off in two years, and her total monthly expenses were only $1,000 per month. He contends that balancing her expenses against her true net income of $976 per month results in a shortfall of only $24 per month and thus the $400 per month was not justified.
That the wife has been employed for 10 years is only one factor to be considered in determining whether maintenance should be awarded. Maintenance may be appropriate where a spouse is employed but has little prospect of earning a salary commensurate with her needs or where she has insufficient property to provide an adequate income. (See In re Marriage of Simmons (1980), 87 Ill. App. 3d 651, 660, 409 N.E.2d 321.) Although the wife is employed, the record supports her contention that she is unable to adequately support herself through her employment and that she is without sufficient additional income. She has been supported by respondent since the parties' separation in February 1984 in the amount of $400 per month and has used her credit union savings deduction to pay monthly bills.
The husband's net income, which is also a factor to be considered, is presently in excess of $362 per week and he testified that he spent $400 per month for rent and $250 per month for food. On the basis of present income, he will earn $260,000 in the future in contrast to her $135,000, a difference of $125,000. Although the husband characterizes the award as being unwarranted, when ...