Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Honorable John Beatty, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication September 13, 1994.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Giannis
JUSTICE GIANNIS delivered the opinion of the court:
This appeal arises out of a determination regarding distribution of marital assets, spousal maintenance, and an award of attorney fees in connection with the judgment of dissolution of marriage of the petitioner, Joseph A. Uehlein, and the respondent, Barbro Uehlein. The trial court found that a portion of certain real property was a marital asset and that petitioner had dissipated the marital assets in the amount of $72,018. The court also awarded respondent spousal maintenance and entered an order awarding certain attorney fees and costs incurred on respondent's behalf. Petitioner has appealed the trial court's ruling as to distribution of certain maritalassets, the award of spousal maintenance, and the award of fees incurred on behalf of respondent. Respondent has cross-appealed the trial court's determination as to certain other assets. Counsel for respondent, Michael J. Dudek, has appealed the court's ruling as to the reasonable fees due on his petition for attorney fees and costs.
The record reveals that petitioner and respondent were married on February 17, 1972. Although the petition for dissolution or marriage was filed on August 29, 1984, and the parties separated in 1984, the trial on this cause did not commence until May 2, 1989. At that time, the couple's only child, Joseph, born May 2, 1972, was 17 years old and was a senior in high school.
At the time of trial, petitioner was self-employed as a carpenter and painter, and he operated his own home decorating and remodeling business. In addition, he managed and received income from two parcels of rental property. Respondent was employed as a certified nurse's assistant, providing home health care to Medicaid recipients. Respondent earned approximately 13,000 in 1988.
The evidence adduced at trial established that in September 1972, seven months after their marriage, the parties purchased a condominium located at 6344 North Sheridan Road in Chicago, Illinois, for $37,000. The couple made a $12,000 down payment for this property and obtained a mortgage for the balance. At the time of trial, the condominium had a market value of $63,000 and was subject to a mortgage balance of $12,000.
In 1977, the parties bought a single-family home located at 4941 North Tripp for approximately $57,000. The couple made a $2,000 down payment for this property and financed the remainder of the purchase price. Respondent continued to live in this home with the parties' son through the time of trial. Petitioner moved out of the marital home in August 1984. At the time of trial, the marital residence had a market value of $85,000 and was subject to a mortgage balance of $35,000, with equity of $50,000.
When the Tripp home was purchased in 1977, the parties leased the condominium to various tenants. Their most recent tenant caused extensive damage to the unit and, according to the testimony of petitioner, the condominium required $25,000 in repairs to return it to a condition in which it could be rented.
The evidence established that during the marriage, petitioner also had an ownership interest in four parcels of real property, including (1) a multi-unit apartment building on Spaulding in Chicago, (2) a multi-unit apartment building on Oakley in Chicago, (3) a parcel of land in Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and (4) a parcel of land in Germany. Except for the property located on Oakley, petitioner owned the above real estate jointly with his brother, Peter Uehlein.
Petitioner testified that subsequent to the parties' marriage, he sold his interest in the property on Oakley and deposited the proceeds of the sale into the couple's joint checking account. In 1977, petitioner traded his interest in the property located on Spaulding and in Silver Lake to his brother in exchange for title to a five-unit apartment building on Winnemac Street in Chicago. In addition to the exchange of title to these properties, petitioner also paid his brother $6,150 by check dated February 23, 1978, and drawn on the couple's joint account. Petitioner explained that although he and his brother had previously agreed that he would receive $50,000 for his interest in the properties on Spaulding and in Silver Lake, this agreement was subsequently altered, and the $50,000 was put into the building on Winnemac prior to the property exchange between the brothers. Petitioner testified that he never received this $50,000.
The property located on Winnemac was placed in a land trust held by LaSalle National Bank. The trust granted petitioner the sole power of direction and made him the sole beneficiary of the trust. Petitioner testified that, at the time of trial, he lived in one of the five units in this building. Three units were rented, and one was unoccupied. Petitioner also testified that there was no mortgage on this property.
Respondent acknowledged at trial that the building on Winnemac was obtained in exchange for the properties on Spaulding and in Silver Lake, which had been acquired by petitioner prior to the parties' marriage.
Respondent also acknowledged that petitioner's interest in the real estate located in Germany was acquired prior to the parties' marriage. According to respondent, petitioner claimed this property was worth $40,000 in 1972 but later told her the property was valued at $200,000 in 1984. Respondent did not, however, offer any evidence as to the fair market value of this property at the time of trial, the source of any increase in the value of the property, or whether petitioner retained an ownership interest in this property. Petitioner testified that his interest in the property was bought by his brother, Peter Uehlein, sometime after 1976, but long before the parties' separation in 1984.
The evidence established that other property acquired by petitioner prior to the marriage included two accounts at banks located in Germany, and certain household furnishings, and a coin collection valued at $5,000.
During their marriage, the couple accumulated assets which included a motor boat purchased in March 1984 for $5,000, household furnishings, three automobiles, several bank accounts and investmentaccounts, two individual retirement accounts, and six bags of silver coins. Petitioner testified at trial that he left all of the six bags of silver coins in the marital home when he moved out in 1984. This evidence was contradicted by the testimony of the respondent, who stated that petitioner took five of the bags and left only one bag in the marital home when they separated. Respondent acknowledged that she sold one of the bags of silver coins for $800 after the parties' separation in 1984.
The evidence established that the parties bought a 1978 Volkswagen which, at the time of trial, was being used by the parties' 17-year-old son. Respondent testified that she drove a 1983 Toyota which was valued at $2,000. Petitioner testified that he purchased a van in 1988 which cost approximately $15,000. After the van was stolen, petitioner received an insurance settlement in the amount of $5,000. He also received an insurance settlement in the amount of $1218. Petitioner subsequently purchased a replacement van, using the $5,000 insurance proceeds as a down payment and financing the $10,000 balance. In addition, he used the $1,218 to replace many of the stolen tools.
The evidence established that after the parties separated in August 1984, petitioner withdrew $29,000 from an investment brokerage account held by Olde Securities in petitioner's name exclusively. Thereafter, this money was deposited with the Bank of Lincolnwood and later transferred to the Northwestern Savings and Loan into an account which bore the name and social security number of Sandra Turk's minor daughter. Petitioner stated that he did this "for tax purposes." Sandra Turk testified that this was done so petitioner would not have to report these assets to respondent or on his income tax return. According to Ms. Turk, petitioner told her the funds in this account consisted of money he had earned. Ms. Turk testified that petitioner never told her that this money had belonged to his mother.
In January 1986, petitioner gave Ms. Turk $8,000 out of these funds to use as a down payment on the purchase of a new car. Petitioner also sent approximately $19,000 to Germany for ...