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12/30/94 MARRIAGE MARY JO PULS PETITIONER-APPELLANT

December 30, 1994

IN RE: THE MARRIAGE OF MARY JO PULS, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND CHARLES H. PULS, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.


APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE RONALD W. OLSON, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Released for Publication February 16, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Rizzi delivered the opinion of the court: Tully, P.j. and Cerda, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rizzi

JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioner, Mary Jo Puls and respondent, Charles H. Puls were divorced on June 7, 1991. Petitioner was awarded maintenance and a share of the martial property, however, the trial court declined to award attorney fees and expert witness fees to petitioner from respondent. Petitioner now appeals from the dissolution of marriage order. We affirm.

The issues for review by this court are (1) whether the trial court's distribution of marital property was inequitable with regard to petitioner; (2) whether the award of maintenance to petitioner was insufficient in its amount and duration; and (3) whether the trial court erred in failing to award attorney fees and expert witness fees from respondent to petitioner.

Petitioner and respondent were married on February 18, 1961. Petitioner filed a dissolution of marriage petition in June of 1988. Petitioner, who attended Indiana University but did not receive a degree, was employed doing clerical work during the first two years of her marriage. She stopped working in April of 1962 upon the birth of the parties' first of three children. From that point until October of 1988, petitioner worked as a homemaker.

After the parties' youngest child moved out of the marital home in October of 1988, petitioner moved out of the marital home and into her own apartment that same month. Petitioner also began working in an office. In March of 1989, petitioner began a new job working as a salesperson in a jewelry store. Petitioner worked at the jewelry store for approximately 30 to 35 hours per week. In the spring of 1990, petitioner began to experience problems with her back. As a result of her medical problems, she was required to reduce her work hours to 16 to 20 hours per week.

Petitioner's net earned income for the years 1989 and 1990 was $3,744 and $3,412, respectively. In addition, petitioner received $1,400 in income from interest earned in 1990. Petitioner also received $2,200 per month from respondent for temporary maintenance as of the date she moved out of the marital home into her own apartment. During 1990, plaintiff received the sum of $40,000 in addition to the temporary maintenance payments.

Respondent attended the University of Dubuque, graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in english and economics. Respondent subsequently attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin where he studied economics. In 1968, he began working with Ralph Zylke. The following year, respondent and Zylke formed a corporation under the name Zylke & Associates, Inc. (the corporation). Respondent owns 40 per cent of the shares of the common stock in the corporation and Zylke owns the remaining 60 per cent of the shares. Respondent also holds the offices of Vice President and Secretary and is a director of the corporation.

Respondent's earned income for the years 1989 and 1990 was $196,053 and $219,289.65, respectively. The annual lease value of respondent's Cadillac automobile is $4,160, which was also income to him. Respondent also received $10,400 and $11,200 in income during 1989 and 1990, respectively, from the 215 Revere Drive Building partnership (building partnership), which owns the office building located at 215 Revere Drive in Northbrook, Illinois (215 Revere Drive property), which is leased and occupied by the corporation. Respondent is a 40 per cent partner in the building partnership and Zylke owns 60 per cent of the remaining shares. By stipulation, the 215 Revere Drive property has a fair market value of $1,250,000. The fair market value of respondent's interest in the building partnership is $333,079. Respondent also received $14,659 in income in 1989 and $12,173 in income in 1990 which was derived from a farm located in Jackson county, Iowa, that was acquired by the parties during their marriage.

The parties stipulated that the fair market value of the farm is $111,400 with a net equity of $48,005.23 as of November, 1990. The parties also owned a townhouse located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which was acquired during their marriage. The parties stipulated that the fair market value of the townhouse is $230,000, and that it had a net equity of $83,607.42.

The parties stipulated that they acquired certain life insurance policies during the marriage, all of which had cash surrender values totalling $46,590.80. In addition, the parties acquired retirement accounts during their marriage which have a pre-tax gross value of $297,612.99.

The parties also owned automobiles and had bank accounts. Respondent's bank account at what was then known as Talman Federal Savings & Loan Association had a balance of $40,000. Petitioner's checking account in the amount of $6,800. Respondent's automobile is a 1989 Cadillac in which he owns a 50 per cent interest valued at $14,000. The parties also own a 1969 Triumph TR-3 automobile. The only non-marital property is a certificate of deposit in the amount of $10,000 owned by petitioner.

After trial, a judgment for dissolution of marriage was entered. The judgment awarded petitioner maintenance, divided the marital property. The court awarded petitioner one half the equity in the marital home, the farm and insurance policies; all of the retirement money; all of the cash on hand and other monies that she had in her name. She was also assigned one half of respondent's interest in Zylke & Associates, Inc., if he sells it, or a minimum of $169,500 if he dies. Maintenance was set at $2,750 per month plus 20 per cent of respondent's net bonus until he retires. Respondent was assigned one half of his interest in Zylke & Associates, Inc., his interest in the building partnership and ...


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