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12/28/88 In Re Marriage of Vivian Harris

December 28, 1988

IN RE MARRIAGE OF VIVIAN HARRIS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

WILLARD S. HARRIS, Respondent-Appellee

533 N.E.2d 107, 178 Ill. App. 3d 282, 127 Ill. Dec. 489 1988.IL.1885

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Aaron Jaffe, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA and FREEMAN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RIZZI

Petitioner, Vivian Harris (Vivian), appeals from a judgment relating to the valuation and distribution of property stemming from her marriage to respondent, Willard Harris (Willard). We affirm.

Vivian and Willard were married on January 12, 1958. Three children resulted from the marriage. The children were born, respectively, in 1965, 1967 and 1968. In 1968, the family lived in Elmhurst, Illinois. Vivian and Willard are both physicians, and both were employed full time during the marriage, except for a brief period when Vivian was not employed because she was caring for the children.

Willard moved his residence to California in December 1974. Vivian and the children were to join Willard in California as soon as Vivian was able to find a job in California. However, Vivian was not able to find suitable employment in California, and she and the children remained living in Elmhurst. In 1977, Willard moved to West Virginia. In 1980, he moved to Florida, where he now resides. Vivian has continued to live with the children in Elmhurst.

Willard did not send any money to Vivian or the children during the time that he did not live in Elmhurst. Vivian supported the family from her salary and marital assets. However, Willard would return to Elmhurst to visit during the time that tax returns were to be prepared and he would prepare his and Vivian's tax returns. Occasionally, Vivian and the children would visit Willard during the time that he was not living in Elmhurst. One of the children lived with Willard in Florida for a year and a half in 1980 and 1981. Another child lived with him in Florida for several months.

Vivian and Willard both consented to the arrangement whereby they lived apart from each other. The record demonstrates that the first period of estrangement between the parties was in 1980. In 1981, they each filed suits for dissolution of marriage. By agreement, a judgment of dissolution was entered in Florida on September 25, 1981, and registered in Illinois. The parties stipulated that all other issues were to be determined in accordance with the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 101 et seq.).

On appeal, Vivian contends that the trial court's valuation and distribution of the property was erroneous. She also contends that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering her to pay $115,000 instanter to Willard.

When Willard moved to California in 1974, the marital assets totaled approximately $190,000 in cash, securities and equity in the marital home. When he left for California in 1974, Willard took $2,000 from a joint account. From 1975 through 1982, Willard lived on his own income. Vivian used her salary and the marital assets to support herself and the children. However, Willard paid for the family's life and automobile insurances. An agreed order for child support was entered in January 1982.

The trial court evaluated and classified the property as of 1981, which was the year of the dissolution of the marriage. The trial court found that the total amount of marital property was $358,217.69. Vivian had $321,295.70 in her possession and Willard had $36,921.99 in his possession. The parties stipulated that they each would retain their respective retirement and deferred income benefits, and that Vivian would retain the ...


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