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06/08/89 In Re Marriage of Madeline Teauseau

June 8, 1989



and ROBERT TEAUSEAU, Respondent-Appellee

540 N.E.2d 820, 185 Ill. App. 3d 22, 132 Ill. Dec. 898 1989.IL.863

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Bureau County; the Hon. C. Howard Wampler, Judge, presiding.


PRESIDING JUSTICE WOMBACHER delivered the opinion of the court. STOUDER and SCOTT, JJ., concur.


The trial court entered a judgment for the dissolution of the parties' marriage, which included a four-year, $100-per-week maintenance award to the petitioner, Madeline Teauseau. The respondent, Robert Teauseau, was also ordered to pay 55% of the petitioner's attorney fees and costs incurred as a result of the action. In the property distribution, Madeline received 55% of the parties' assets. Robert received 45% and assumed all of the marital debts. The court awarded custody of the parties' daughter to Madeline and ordered Robert to pay $67 per week in child support. The petitioner appeals the four-year limitation on the maintenance award and the percentage of attorney fees granted.

The record reveals that the parties were married for 27 years and had two children, Mark, age 25, and Tammy, age 16. At the time of the dissolution proceedings, Madeline was 46 years old. Her education included graduation from high school and a beauty school. She had worked as a beautician up until the birth of her son, but had not worked since that time.

The record further shows that after Tammy was born, Madeline was hospitalized for physical and mental problems. She had suffered from depression since the age of 15, when her father committed suicide. While hospitalized, she began seeing Dr. Sheen, who prescribed antidepressants and other medication. Between 1971 and 1982, she continued in therapy with Dr. Sheen, but in 1982 began seeing Dr. Remolina, with whom she met about once a month.

Madeline was hospitalized again in 1984 after she ran her car into a tree following an argument with her husband. At that time, she was diagnosed as suffering from a major depressive disorder, a state of depression associated with thoughts of suicide and self-destructive tendencies. Madeline's depression became more severe with the breakdown of her marriage. Dr. Remolina stated in his evidence deposition that he had last seen Madeline in November of 1986, and that although she had made some improvement, she was still unable to cope with situations in life. Madeline testified at trial that she had stopped seeing Dr. Remolina due to financial difficulties following the divorce.

Robert had been self-employed as the owner and operator of Bob's Body Shop for over 14 years. At the time of the dissolution proceedings, he was 47 years old and in good health. Robert testified that he took $300 per week from the business as his salary. He further testified that he had been living with a friend and paid her $150 per month in rent. During the marriage, Robert paid all of the bills and gave Madeline $200 per week for groceries and other items.

Madeline first argues on appeal that the trial court erred in ordering that maintenance would automatically terminate after four years. She does not dispute the amount of the award.

In determining the duration and amount of a maintenance award, section 504(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 40, par. 504(b)) provides that the following factors should be considered: the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance; the time necessary for that party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable appropriate employment; the standard of living established during the marriage; the duration of the marriage; the age and the physical and emotional conditions of both parties; the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.

One objective of the Act is to encourage a formerly dependent spouse to become financially independent in the future, if possible. (In re Marriage of Wilder (1983), 122 Ill. App. 3d 338, 461 N.E.2d 447.) This goal, however, must be balanced against a realistic appraisal of the likelihood that the spouse will be able to support herself in some reasonable approximation of the standard of living established during the marriage. (In re Marriage of Carney (1984), 122 Ill. App. 3d 705, 462 N.E.2d 596.) Time-limited maintenance which is reviewable at a certain date in the future has been widely accepted by Illinois courts as a logical, practical, and fair way to handle maintenance awards. (See In re Marriage of Albiani (1987), 159 Ill. App. 3d 519, 512 N.E.2d 30; In re Marriage of Asch (1981), 100 Ill. App. 3d 293, 426 N.E.2d 1066.) A maintenance award rests within the sound ...

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