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11/02/87 In Re Marriage of Robert F. Westcott

November 2, 1987

IN RE MARRIAGE OF ROBERT F. WESTCOTT, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

and PEGGY A. WESTCOTT, Respondent-Appellant (Belmont

National Bank of Chicago et al., Defendants)

516 N.E.2d 566, 163 Ill. App. 3d 168, 114 Ill. Dec. 411 1987.IL.1627

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Michael S. Jordan, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN, P.J., and MANNING, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Respondent, Peggy A. Westcott, appeals from the trial court's entry of a supplemental judgment distributing marital assets incident to the dissolution of her marriage with petitioner, Robert F. Westcott. On appeal, respondent contends that the trial court erred in: (1) its Disposition of the marital assets; (2) finding that respondent had dissipated martial assets; (3) failing to observe proper trial procedure; (4) being biased and predisposed against respondent; and (5) ordering respondent to pay all of the attorney fees. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The parties were married on September 17, 1977. At that time, petitioner was 54 and respondent 35 years old. They both had been married before, respondent three times and petitioner once. Both had children from their previous marriages, but none were born as a result of their marriage. At the time the dissolution proceedings began, all of their children, except for respondent's minor son, had reached majority and were emancipated.

When they were married in 1977, petitioner was the sole owner of Westcott Associates, Inc. (Westcott), which he had incorporated in 1967, and respondent was the executive vice-president of Leopold and Company, a consulting firm. On April 7, 1979, petitioner made respondent the executive vice-president, secretary and a director of Westcott. She was authorized to sign checks and she did some accounting for the corporation. During the four-year marriage, the parties acquired various properties, including the marital home, and opened various joint bank accounts.

On September 16, 1981, petitioner filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. Two days later, on September 18, 1981, respondent filed a counterpetition for dissolution. The cases were consolidated on September 24, 1981. A trial of grounds was held on April 26, 1982, after which the court ordered a judgment of dissolution and set the matter for trial on the contested issues.

The trial began on April 26, 1982, and the court made its findings approximately 7 1/2 months later, on December 10, 1982. The fee petitions were heard at a later date.

At the outset of the dissolution proceedings, both parties obtained temporary restraining orders restraining each party from dissipating items of marital property. During the course of the trial, petitioner continued discovering assets which respondent allegedly was hiding. He accused her of violating the injunction and of dissipating assets. She accused him of doing the same.

During the proceedings, many of the marital properties went into foreclosure for failure to pay the mortgages. In addition, both petitioner and respondent were unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation.

On January 17, 1983, the trial court entered its written order containing the following valuation and distribution of property:

Non-marital Property Petitioner Respondent

Mutual Fund $18,000.00

Municipal Bonds 15,000.00

Total 33,000.00 -0-

Marital Property

Marital Residence $131,650.00

Westcott Associates, Inc. -0-

Westcott profit sharing

trust 28,000.00

Westcott pension trust 162,000.00

Unit No. 4328 at Marina City 47,698.38

Unit No. 4805 at Marina City $45,000.00

Units No. 1227-1229 at Lake

Terrace ...


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