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03/13/89 In Re Marriage of Susan Wolf

March 13, 1989



Cross-Appellant, and ALAN WOLF, Respondent-Appellant

and Cross-Appellee

536 N.E.2d 792, 180 Ill. App. 3d 998, 129 Ill. Dec. 742 1989.IL.316

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Charles J. Grupp, Judge, presiding.


PRESIDING JUSTICE MANNING delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.


Susan Wolf, petitioner, and Alan Wolf, respondent, were married on August 8, 1970. No children were born of this marriage nor were any adopted. Susan Wolf filed for dissolution of marriage on April 15, 1983. A contested trial was held on September 11 and 12, 1986, regarding division of marital property and indebtedness, maintenance, and attorney fees.

Alan Wolf testified that he is currently living with his mother and has lived with her for approximately three years prior to trial. He has a bachelor's degree in accounting and education and a master's degree in guidance and counseling. Between 1970 and 1978 he worked as a teacher in the Chicago public school system, school district 211, Grays Lake School, Fremd High School in Palatine, and a junior college in Chicago. From 1979 to 1982 Mr. Wolf worked in the areas of real estate sales, outside salesman, high school/college teaching, accounting and hospital work. Between 1982 and 1984 he worked as a school bus driver, a real estate salesman, and purchased an Amway distributorship. He has not been employed since 1984, when he attempted suicide.

Mr. Wolf attended the Fillmore Job Co-op from September 1984 through February 1985 in order to develop the personal skills needed to better cope with a job. Although the staff at Fillmore recommended continuation in the program, Mr. Wolf dropped out of this program prior to completion.

Mr. Wolf also presented testimony regarding his history of hospitalizations beginning in 1967, when he was placed in the psychiatric ward of Loretto Hospital for three weeks, while in college, after threatening his mother and father with a gun. He was hospitalized in 1980 at St. Anne's Hospital in the psychiatric ward for three weeks as a result of stress and physical problems he suffered in coping with his job. St. Anne's Hospital discharged him for a week, then he was returned to the hospital for four weeks. In April 1983, he was hospitalized at St. Joseph's Hospital in Elgin after he attempted to kill his wife's attorney in the courtroom with a knife. During the summer of 1983 he was also hospitalized for three weeks at the River's Edge Hospital after stabbing a policeman. He was again hospitalized at River's Edge Hospital for five weeks in the summer of 1984, after attempting suicide through a drug overdose. Finally, he was hospitalized in 1985 at River's Edge Hospital for three weeks for depression. Mr. Wolf testified that he has been taking medication on a regular basis.

Mr. Wolf further testified regarding his sources of income. Since the summer of 1984, he has been receiving social security disability payments of $246 per month, and he is entitled to medicare benefits. Moreover, he has health benefits under his wife's group health plan. He also testified that he has used the interest earned from his Cragin Federal savings account of about $300 per month to pay for his living expenses, and he has borrowed money from his mother, amounting to $33,000 at the time of trial.

Mr. Wolf testified that on April 15, 1983, when the divorce was filed, they had approximately $400,000 in marital assets as the result of selling the marital home for $170,000, certificate of deposits of $100,000, savings of $100,000, individual retirement accounts for $16,500, a coin collection appraised at $4,300, and H&R Block stock which sold for a net of $962. He further testified that in 1983, he purchased two Cadillac Seville automobiles. The first automobile, a brown Cadillac Seville, was purchased on April 13, 1983, for $26,560. On May 15, 1983, Mr. Wolf purchased a red Cadillac Seville for $32,355, paid for from the Cragin Federal Savings and Loan account. Four months after purchase, Mr. Wolf sold the red Cadillac Seville for $23,000, transferring a portion of that money to his mother for living expenses and depositing $17,000 in an account at the LaGrange Federal Savings and Loan, which he subsequently spent. He transferred title of the brown Cadillac to his mother as repayment for the room and board that his mother had provided him during the past year and a half.

Mr. Wolf also testified regarding his living expenses at the time of trial. He has an oral agreement with his mother to pay her $1,000 per month for room and board and the use of the car. He also pays for his other living expenses, including $25 per week for gas, $100 per month for doctor visits and drugs, $200 per month for clothing and $100 to $300 per week on entertainment.

Susan Wolf testified that she has a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in counseling-psychology. She is working as a counselor at Schaumburg High School, earning approximately $44,000 per year, resulting in a $1,242.80 biweekly net income.

Ms. Wolf further testified that at the time this action commenced on April 15, 1983, they had assets totaling approximately $360,000. This amount was based on the selling of the marital home for a net of $175,000, savings accounts at Citicorp Savings and Loan for $100,000, the Land of Lincoln for $39,000, Talman Savings for $10,000, Cragin Federal Savings and Loan for $55,000, a checking account at First Bank of Schaumburg for $1,849, with a current balance of $300, money market account at First National Bank of Hoffman Estates for $2,663, a coin collection, stocks, an individual retirement account for $5,200, and automobiles and home furnishings. The assets also included her teacher's pension with a total contribution of $26,000 together with accrued interest totaling $34,000. She also made a contribution of $3,290 for the 1984-85 school year. Ms. Wolf stated that if she quit her job she would only be entitled to her $26,000 contribution, less a penalty. She further stated that she does not know what her monthly payments would be at retirement.

Ms. Wolf testified that she purchased a 1984 Cutlass Oldsmobile for $11,000. However, at the time of trial she was unaware of the value of the automobile. Moreover, her average monthly living expenses totalled $1,455 to $1,565 per month, including rent, utilities, food, clothing, gasoline, automobile repairs, medical bills, entertainment, and telephone. She finally testified that Mr. Wolf could obtain a spin-off health insurance policy through her group health insurance plan at work.

Camille Ferrance, a clinical psychologist, who began treating Alan Wolf in 1980 when he was at St. Anne's Hospital, testified that Alan has been diagnosed as acute schizophrenic reaction-paranoid type. Dr. Ferrence stated that Alan has unrealistic expectations of himself and his difficulty with jobs is characteristic of his illness. He also experiences hallucinations and delusions. Dr. Ferrence further testified that the purchasing of the two Cadillacs was done out of frustration and Alan's feelings of power, which is consistent with schizophrenia. Dr. Ferrence stated that Alan can have periods of normalcy, but he is unable to handle "day to day" problems as a normal individual would. She determined that Alan's stress occurs when he is working with people.

Dr. Ferrence testified that she believes that it is unlikely that Alan could function in the capacity of teacher or counselor, and in her opinion he would have to remain on medication and would be in need of psychiatric care for the rest of his life. Although Alan cannot cope with the pressure of accounting, there is a possibility that he may work in the future. However, Alan must be retrained for a different vocation that would allow him to work with his hands and less with people. Dr. Ferrence testified that she referred Alan to the Fillmore Job Co-op. However, he left the program before they could make a job recommendation to him. On cross-examination she read from a psychiatric evaluation history where Alan communicated that he did not want a low paying job but a job commensurate with his college education. At the same time he indicated that he wanted maintenance as a part of the divorce settlement.

Dr. Bernard G. Suran, a clinical psychologist, also testified that since 1967 Alan has suffered from chronic paranoid schizophrenia, and that although Alan's medication reduces his symptoms, there is no known cure for schizophrenia. Moreover, even if Alan takes his medication as prescribed, there is no guarantee that he will not slip out of remission and have a violent episode. Dr. Suran stated that in paranoid schizophrenia there is progressive disorganization within the individual and his thought processes are frequently delusional, involving feelings of persecution or grandiosity. In his opinion Alan is not employable in the conventional sense and would require medication and some form of psychological therapy for the rest of his life. Additionally, his employability prospects are getting worse because of the deterioration in his functioning. Dr. Suran believes that Alan could manage a job that did not require interpersonal contact on a regular basis.

Dr. Robert E. Bussell, director of clinical services at Cook County juvenile court, testified that he observed Alan in 1985, and Alan was potentially suicidal. Alan talked about killing himself and his wife. In his opinion, Alan has the intelligence to "hold down" a job but it must be low stress with almost no contact with people. He also testified that Alan has been a chronic paranoid schizophrenic since 1967, and the purchase of the two Cadillacs is consistent with the grandiose stage of schizophrenia. He believes that once the divorce is over, Alan's stress will be reduced and his illness should be helped.

A judgment for dissolution of marriage was entered on December 29, 1986. The petitioner was awarded: (1) her pension fund; (2) the account at Schaumburg State Bank; (3) the account at the First Bank of Hoffman Estates; (4) the 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass automobile; (5) her IRA account; and (6) any and all personal property presently in her possession. The respondent was awarded: (1) the account at Cragin Savings and Loan; (2) the account at LaGrange Federal Bank; (3) his account at Land of Lincoln; (4) his IRA; and (5) any and all other personal property presently in his possession. Moreover, the joint accounts at Pathway Financial, America National and Land of Lincoln were to be divided equally between the parties.

The petitioner is also required to pay to the respondent $500 per month for maintenance to be reviewed in two years, and each party is responsible for payment of his own attorney fees. Finally, the petitioner is to "effectuate proceedings to retain the respondent on her medical insurance policy." Alan Wolf appealed that portion of the ...

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