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10/05/94 MARRIAGE EMILY AURIEMMA

October 5, 1994

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: EMILY AURIEMMA, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, CROSS-APPELLANT, AND MICHAEL AURIEMMAN, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT, CROSS-APPELLEE, AND SCHILLER, DU CANTO AND FLECK, ADDITIONAL APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Aaron Jaffe, Judge Presiding.

As Modified on Denial of Rehearing January 11, 1995. As Corrected March 31, 1995. Released for Publication April 13, 1995.

Justice Tully delivered the opinion of the court: Cerda And Greiman, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tully

MODIFIED ON DENIAL OF REHEARING

PRESIDING JUSTICE TULLY delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioner, Emily Auriemma, and respondent, Michael Auriemma, were awarded a judgment for dissolution of marriage on May 10, 1989. Respondent appeals from the trial court's judgment on the issues of child custody, division of the marital estate and allocation of attorney fees. Petitioner cross-appeals and challenges the division of the marital estate. In a separately filed appeal, the law firm of Schiller, Du Canto & Fleck (hereinafter SDF), which represented petitioner for approximately 1 1/2 years throughout the preliminary stages of this litigation, appeals from the trial court's award of attorney fees. We consolidated the appeals. Jurisdiction is vested in this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 301 (134 Ill. 2d R. 301).

For the reasons which follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part and remand with directions.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The record clearly demonstrates that respondent subjected petitioner to an almost unending series of physical and emotional abuse during the course of their troubled marriage. We do not feel it necessary to envelope in buckram the particulars of a disturbing story which would serve only to cause future embarrassment to innocent persons unfortunately drawn into this controversy. Accordingly, we shall put forth only those facts which we deem essential.

On June 9, 1986, petitioner contacted SDF and conferred with the firm on obtaining a divorce from respondent. On June 11, 1986, petitioner filed a petition for dissolution of her marriage, along with a petition for an order of protection against respondent. In her petition for a protection order, petitioner stated that she was in fear for her life and was afraid to vacate the marital residence in Bensenville, Illinois. On June 12, 1986, the trial court entered an ex parte order of protection and a temporary restraining order concerning the parties' assets. Accompanied by the Bensenville police and a private armed guard, petitioner moved from the marital residence to an apartment in Chicago.

Subsequently, the litigation seemed to expand almost exponentially into a guerre a mort. First, there was a considerable amount of legal wrangling that went on in Du Page County. Eventually, after an appeal, those collateral proceedings ended.

Next, the original ex parte order, which was extended for another 21 days, was subsequently extended for a full year, until June 30, 1987. Almost immediately after its entry, respondent began violating the protection order. Consequently, a series of hearings and new orders ensued. At one particularly bizarre point, it was determined that the telephone in petitioner's Chicago apartment had been bugged. Needless to say, this occurrence led to even more satellite litigation.

Eventually, these extraneous matters wound down and the trial court was permitted to get to the business of apportioning the marital estate, awarding custody of the parties' children and providing for their ...


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