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01/22/88 Mary K. Hollensbe, v. S. R. Hollensbe

January 22, 1988





519 N.E.2d 40, 165 Ill. App. 3d 522, 116 Ill. Dec. 450 1988.IL.60

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County; the Hon. Lehman Krause, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court. HARRISON, P.J., and CALVO, J., concur.


The petitioner, Mary K. Hollensbe, and the respondent, S. R. Hollensbe, were married on July 1, 1950, and a judgment of dissolution was entered on November 26, 1986. Three children were born of this marriage in 1958, 1960, and 1965. The marriage lasted over 36 years, and, at the time of the dissolution hearing, all but the youngest child was emancipated. This child was out of the home, living in an apartment and attending college.

A petition for dissolution was filed on June 18, 1981, after a separation on June 8, 1981. A temporary order of support and maintenance was entered shortly thereafter, and this order was modified on July 17, 1984. A property division hearing was conducted during February 1986, and, in November 1986, a series of orders and docket entries were entered. Finally, on November 26, 1986, a judgment was entered disposing of property and maintenance issues. It is from this judgment that the instant appeal is taken.

The appeal is basically over the trial court's granting of maintenance in lieu of a division of marital property. Since this was a marriage of long duration, all but a few items were marital property. From the outset of the trial the respondent took the position that he should pay maintenance and keep the bulk of the marital property, while the petitioner demanded what she considered to be her fair share of the marital property. The respondent felt that the marital assets should not be subject to division but that the petitioner should receive maintenance from the income the respondent earned using the marital assets through his knowledge and experience as a geologist.

The petitioner was a high school graduate with no particular skills in the labor market. The couple was married shortly after she graduated from high school. Her contribution to the marriage was basically that of a housewife and manager of the household duties, which included the raising of the children. The respondent agreed she did this job well. The evidence showed that at the time of the hearing she was 56 years old and in poor health, unable to hold a job if she had been suited to one. The respondent was a geologist at the time of the marriage and, through his efforts in his job and investments, certain property was obtained and purchased. He maintained that although the petitioner did well in her housewifely duties, she was a detriment to him in his profession.

As indicated above, a separation occurred in 1981. The respondent moved to Indiana and purchased a home, while the petitioner lived in the marital home. She maintained the marital home, paid the taxes, and eventually paid off the mortgage on it prior to the hearing on the property settlement. She did this with moneys she received from the respondent plus certain funds she was able to obtain by withdrawing money from bank accounts.

The major issue in this case is whether or not the trial court, in its final judgment, correctly used maintenance as a substitute for a division of the marital assets.

The trial court found that the petitioner was in need of support from the respondent and that the respondent was capable of providing permanent maintenance for her. The court further found that it would not be in the parties' best interests financially to award oil or other properties to the petitioner in lieu of maintenance.

The trial court awarded the petitioner marital property that included the home and 30 acres, the household furnishings valued at $115,135, a $3,000 automobile, $50,000 from an escrow account, and other moneys from insurance and bank accounts. The respondent received $18,000 in non-marital property. He was also awarded $212,684.17 from the escrow fund, his home in Indiana valued at $28,333, two cars, a truck and a boat in total value of $17,800, oil properties (working interests and overriding royalties) with a total value of $265,000, retirement benefits of $32,000, and certain other items.

The escrow account was money placed there from the sale of the respondent's stock in Shakespeare Oil Company. Shortly after his separation from the petitioner, the respondent left his employment with Shakespeare Oil Company and sold his interest in the company. This money was placed in escrow and gained interest as well as paid taxes. By April 1, 1986, the amount in the escrow account had become $365,196.17. From ...

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