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03/03/94 MARRIAGE MILDRED R. BREUER

March 3, 1994

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF MILDRED R. BREUER, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND GRANT W. BREUER, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Charles J. Grupp Judge Presiding.

Cahill, Theis, Hoffman

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill

PRESIDING JUSTICE CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:

Mildred Breuer appeals the order of the trial court granting Grant Breuer's petition to modify maintenance payments. She alleges the court abused its discretion in modifying maintenance and reducing the monthly payments from $1,400 to $400. We affirm.

The Breuers were divorced in 1964. Under the decree of divorce, Mr. Breuer paid Mrs. Breuer maintenance of $1,500 a month. The decree provided that the monthly payments be reduced to $833.33 in October 1974. On July 14, 1975, the court determined that Mrs. Breuer was suffering from poor health and ordered Mr. Breuer to pay monthly maintenance of $1,400.

In September 1991 Mr. Breuer filed a petition to modify maintenance payments. He alleged a substantial change in circumstances due to unforeseen financial reversals. On March 13, 1992, the court held a hearing on the petition.

Mrs. Breuer testified that she owns a condominium worth $175,000. The condominium has a mortgage in the amount of $11,000. She has an investment account of $58,599.38, an IRA account of $21,882.32, and receives $500 a month from social security. Mrs. Breuer is 73.

Mr. Breuer testified that he is the president of Basic Earth Science Systems, Inc. and earns a yearly salary of $75,000. He receives $1,300 a month from social security. In addition to his salary, he earned $11,000 in 1991 from oil and gas sales. He owns two Cadillacs and is a member of a county club, but pays no dues. In 1975 he owned oil and gas properties which generated a profit of $50,000 to $100,000 a month. In 1975 his assets were substantially higher than his liabilities.

In June 1991 the bank foreclosed on his properties. In February 1992 the bank foreclosed on his house. Mr. Breuer does not have an investment account. He does not have any retirement benefits. He is 73, has had three heart attacks, and stated that in June 1991 he had no money left. His financial condition had not improved at the time of the hearing. He testified that he did not deliberately lose money to avoid paying Mrs. Breuer.

On May 13, 1992, the court ruled that Mr. Breuer suffered economic reversal and granted a reduction in monthly maintenance payments from $1,400 to $400. The record does not contain a transcript of the ruling. The court's order was entered on July 17, 1992. Mrs. Breuer appeals.

Section 510(a) of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act permits modification of maintenance upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par. 510(a).) Mrs. Breuer concedes that Mr. Breuer suffered a substantial change in circumstances, but contends the amount of reduction in maintenance was not justified. She argues that the court did not properly consider the elements set out in section 504(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par. 504(b)).

Under section 504(b), a court should consider the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, the standard of living established during the marriage, the age, physical and emotional condition of both parties, the ability of the spouse seeking maintenance to meet her needs independently, and the ability of the other spouse to pay. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par. 504(b).) No one element is determinative. ( In re Marriage of Jones (1989), 187 Ill. App. 3d 206, 228, 543 N.E.2d 119.) A court of review will not reverse a maintenance order unless the record shows an abuse of discretion. ( In re Marriage of Ingrassia (1986), 140 Ill. App. 3d 826, 489 N.E.2d 386.) To justify reversal it must be obvious that the court acted arbitrarily or without conscientious judgment. In re Marriage of Krupp (1990), 207 Ill. App. 3d 779, 798, 566 N.E.2d 429.

Both parties are 73 years old. They were divorced 30 years ago. Neither is in good health. Mrs. Breuer owns a retirement account and an investment account. She receives social security and monthly interest from her investments. She owns a condominium worth $175,000 with a mortgage of $11,000. Mrs. Breuer does not work.

In 1991 Mr. Breuer suffered a major financial setback. Mrs. Breuer classifies his status before 1991 as "millionaire." The bank foreclosed on Mr. Breuer's oil and gas properties and his home. He did not purposely cause this loss. Mr. Breuer earns $75,000 a year and receives $15,600 from social security. He does not own a retirement account or an investment account. Mr. Breuer has shown a decrease in his ability to pay. He is left with a salary, two Cadillacs, and social ...


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