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03/03/88 In Re Marriage of Karen Martino

March 3, 1988

IN RE MARRIAGE OF KAREN MARTINO, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

JOHN DREW MARTINO, Respondent-Appellee

520 N.E.2d 1139, 166 Ill. App. 3d 692, 117 Ill. Dec. 788 1988.IL.293

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. Francis W. Faris, Jr., Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE INGLIS delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and NASH, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE INGLIS

This is an appeal arising from a petition to reduce or abate maintenance. We affirm.

John Martino and Karen Martino were divorced on May 6, 1977, at which time they had one daughter, Ashley. The judgment for divorce provided in pertinent part that John was to provide unallocated maintenance and child support in the amount of $1,500 per month until Ashley reached her 19th birthday or until several other events occurred. The agreement further provided that John would provide housing for both Karen and Ashley. The agreement also stated:

"KAREN will be responsible, solely, for her utilities, telephone bills, scavenger bills, water bills, maintenance and operation bills, and any and all other costs, of any kind whatsoever, of the maintenance and operation of the premises in which KAREN and ASHLEY reside, or in which KAREN resides without ASHLEY in the future."

In the preceding paragraph both utilities and water bills had been crossed out and appropriately initialed by both K.M. and J.M.

Ashley reached the age of 19 on September 30, 1984. On September 3, 1986, John filed a petition seeking to reduce or abate maintenance. On November 18, 1986, Karen filed a petition seeking a rule to show cause as to why John violated the judgment for divorce.

At a hearing on the two petitions, John testified his income in 1977 was $144,454 and that his income in 1986 was approximately $74,000. He also testified that he initially paid Karen $1,500 plus expenses, miscellaneous expenses for his daughter and whatever else they needed to get along for some period of time. Karen would call him monthly and tell him what the additional expenses were for "Ashley's school or whatever." He would then send her $1,500 plus the additional expenses. John stated that the figures would come out to "$1,700, $1,800, $2,100, $1,900, they would bounce around the $2,000 figure with expenses." After a while he rounded it off and began sending Karen $2,000 per month. John further stated that in 1984 and 1983 he paid Karen $19,330 per year (an average of $1,610.83 per month).

Karen testified that her annual income at the time of the hearing was $18,500 and that at the time of the divorce she was unemployed. She further testified that in the beginning John would pay the utilities in addition to the $1,500 per month and that he ended up just rounding it off eventually to $2,000 per month. She also testified that both her electric and her gas bills averaged between $100 and $150 per month and that she paid $40 per month for water bills.

The trial court entered an order with findings that the income of John had substantially decreased from $144,000 per year in 1977 to $74,000 per year at the time of the hearing, and the income of Karen had increased to $19,000 per year at the time of the hearing from no income in 1977. The trial court further stated that there was no clear and convincing evidence that the amount to be paid to Karen pursuant to the original decree had been amended by oral agreement between John and Karen. The court also found that since January 1, 1986, John had paid to Karen the sum of $11,000. The court ruled that John's petition for reduction of alimony was granted and that John should pay Karen maintenance in the amount of $520 per month effective October 1, 1986, and continuing thereafter for a period of 36 months. The court further ruled that John should continue to furnish Karen housing as described in the original decree until the 30th day of September 1989 and not ...


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