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09/23/96 MARRIAGE PHYLLIS IRENE STUFFLEBEAM v.

September 23, 1996

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF: PHYLLIS IRENE STUFFLEBEAM, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
RAYMOND F. STUFFLEBEAM, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois. No. 93--D--228. Honorable Jeffrey W. O'Connor, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication October 30, 1996.

Honorable Michael P. Mccuskey, Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice, Honorable John F. Michela, Justice. Justice McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court: Slater and Michela, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mccuskey

JUSTICE McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court:

The petitioner, Phyllis Stufflebeam n/k/a Phyllis Cole (wife), appeals from a judgment of dissolution of marriage entered January 3, 1996. The judgment distributed the property owned by the wife and the respondent, Ray Stufflebeam (husband).

On appeal, the wife argues that the trial court: (1) erred in vacating a judgment inadvertently entered on September 21, 1995; (2) abused its discretion in determining the parties' marital property; (3) abused its discretion in distributing the parties' marital property; (4) abused its discretion in determining marital debts; and (5) abused its discretion when it did not order the husband to pay all of the wife's attorney fees.

After carefully reviewing the record, we first conclude that the September 21, 1995, judgment was properly vacated pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 1994)). We also conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in classifying and distributing the parties' assets and debts or in ordering the husband to pay one-half of the wife's attorney fees. As a result, we affirm.

FACTS

On January 11, 1988, the husband and wife entered into a prenuptial agreement. The agreement listed the property owned at that time by both the husband and the wife. The list of the husband's property was titled "exhibit A" and included a "house & 61 acres." The value of this property was listed at $80,000 and a liability against the property was listed at $20,000. The agreement stated:

"6. That after such marriage all of the property of any kind or nature, real, personal or mixed, wheresoever situated, belonging to the husband, and identified on the attached "Exhibit A," before the marriage and any increase thereof, or any property acquired by him after such marriage, shall be and remain forever his own separate property and estate." (Emphasis added.)

The parties were married on January 17, 1988. On February 21, 1990, the husband and wife signed a document entitled "mutual acknowledgement concerning prenuptial agreement." This document stated that the wife used $12,500 of her own funds to discharge a portion of the debt on the husband's house. Accordingly, the parties agreed that, in the event of a dissolution of marriage, the husband would reimburse the wife the sum of $12,500, without interest.

The parties separated in May 1993, and the wife filed her petition for dissolution of marriage on November 19, 1993. On May 11, 1995, the trial court entered a judgment finding grounds for dissolving the marriage. The wife was authorized to resume her former name of Phyllis Cole.

On July 5, 1995, a hearing was held regarding the division of the parties' property and attorney fees. The wife testified that she was 56 years old and worked part-time as a registered nurse. Tax returns showing her 1993 and 1994 income were admitted into evidence but have not been included in the record on appeal. However, her portion of the pretrial memorandum stated that her current gross monthly income was $1,845, or $22,140 per year.

The wife testified that she put various amounts of her own nonmarital funds into the parties' joint account during the course of the marriage. She stated that they used $4,700 of the money in the joint account to make improvements on the husband's house. She said she also did ...


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