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December 4, 1996


Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois. No. 92--D--215. Honorable Jeffery W. O'Connor, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication January 16, 1997.

Present - Honorable Peg Breslin, Presiding Justice, Honorable William E. Holdridge, Presiding Justice, Honorable Michael P. Mccuskey, Justice. Justice McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court. Breslin, P.j., and Holdridge, P.j., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mccuskey

JUSTICE McCUSKEY delivered the opinion of the court:

The petitioner, Rosalind Chapman n/k/a Rosalind Vandersnick, appeals from a judgment of dissolution of marriage. The judgment dissolved her marriage to the respondent, Richard Chapman, distributed the parties' property, ordered Richard to continue her health insurance for a period of two years and awarded her no maintenance.

On appeal, Rosalind argues that the trial court abused its discretion: (1) when it failed to award maintenance, considering her failing health and inability to work; and (2) when it failed to order Richard to provide health insurance for longer than two years and pay her uncovered medical expenses.

After carefully reviewing the record on appeal, we reverse the trial court's determination. For reasons that follow, we remand the case to the circuit court of Henry County for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Rosalind and Richard were married on August 20, 1988, and separated on August 30, 1992. No children were born during the marriage. Rosalind filed her petition for dissolution of marriage on October 7, 1992. At that time, she was 35 years old, and Richard was 39 years old. On February 19, 1993, the trial court entered an order requiring Richard to pay Rosalind $400 per month in temporary maintenance.

On August 24, 1994, after a hearing, an order was entered finding grounds for the dissolution of the marriage. A hearing on the remaining contested matters was held on January 23, 1995. Richard's financial affidavit said he worked for John Deere and earned about $3,400 gross per month. However, he testified that, just prior to the hearing, he had changed jobs at John Deere to obtain greater job security. He anticipated that his gross monthly income would be about $2,586 in the new job. Evidence was presented that it would cost him $187.68 per month to keep Rosalind covered under his group health insurance after the dissolution of marriage was final.

Rosalind testified that she was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy in September 1992. Evidence was presented that it is a hereditary disease. Her deceased father had the disease, as well as several other family members. She stated that her symptoms include difficulty in walking, balance problems and weakness in her hands which makes it difficult to write. She also needs a lot of sleep. Rosalind testified that it is difficult for her to do daily tasks such as brushing her teeth, using a blow dryer on her hair, turning faucets on and off, opening and closing doors and going up and down steps. She said that she cannot use a mop or run a vacuum cleaner.

Rosalind previously worked as a teller at Farmers National Bank for almost 18 years. Her gross pay was $1,024.97 per month, and her net pay was $718.80 per month. She voluntarily left her employment on December 31, 1994, because she was unable to adequately perform her job responsibilities. Rosalind stated that the stress and frustration associated with the job were too much for her to continue. She testified that she had applied for social security disability, but was not yet receiving any benefits. In her financial affidavit, she claimed that her monthly living expenses were $1,394.50.

Rosalind's mother, Rosella Vandersnick, testified that Rosalind moved in with her in May 1994. She said Rosalind has balance problems and problems with choking when she tries to take medication. Rosella testified that Rosalind also is often very tired and has limited ability to perform tasks, such as buttoning clothing, because of weakness in her hands. Rosella testified that she is 60 years old and works part time. She does the housecleaning and laundry and also helps Rosalind with the many tasks that Rosalind is unable to accomplish. Rosella stated that Rosalind pays rent to help pay the bills.

Marsha Flemming, an operations manager at Farmers National Bank, testified that she was one of Rosalind's supervisors. She stated that Rosalind's condition deteriorated during the last six months Rosalind worked at the bank. Rosalind had difficulty ...

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