Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 99-D-705 Honorable Clarence W. Harrison II, Judge, presiding.
Justices: Honorable Terrence J. Hopkins, P.J.,
Honorable Richard P. Goldenhersh, J.,
Concurs Honorable Thomas M. Welch, J., Dissents
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Hopkins
The respondent, William R. Gaumer, appeals from a final judgment of the trial court in the dissolution of his marriage to the petitioner, Barbara J. Gaumer. The only issue is whether the trial court abused its discretion in the distribution of the parties' property. We affirm.
William and Barbara were married on September 8, 1962, and their marriage was dissolved after 38 years, when Barbara was 66 years old and William 69 years old. The judgment distributing the parties' property, which is the order from which William appeals, was entered on February 26, 2001. At that time, both of the parties' children were emancipated adults.
During the marriage, Barbara was a homemaker and did not work outside the home, with the exception of the years from 1962 until 1966. William worked at Granite City Steel as a salaried employee until his retirement in 1989 at the age of 56.
At the time of the hearing, Barbara's only source of income was social security benefits in the amount of $5,964 per year. Barbara's affidavit listed her expenses as $1,934 per month. William had social security income of $12,093.60 per year, plus a pension from Granite City Steel for $18,745.80 per year, for a total income of $30,839.40 per year. In his affidavit, William listed his expenses as $1,858 per month. The court awarded William his entire pension, which the parties agreed was approximately 70% marital property. The court did not award Barbara maintenance.
After William retired, he worked part time as a real estate sales agent, but he did not report income from real estate sales in 2000, the year of the dissolution. William testified that he intended to return to selling real estate. The trial court found that both of the parties were retired and that William was employed part time as a real estate agent but that his income from real estate sales was negligible. The parties' only other income is from a Merrill-Lynch account that generated $9,515 in interest in 1999. Of the interest paid on that account in 1999, $7,894 was tax exempt.
The parties had no significant debts other than their attorney fees. The court ordered each party to pay for his or her own attorney fees and costs.
The court awarded the debt-free marital home to Barbara. The home appraised for $83,000 shortly before the hearing.
The court awarded William a 1990 Bass Tracker boat and its motor and trailer, a 1990 Scanoe and all the related fishing equipment, a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban, and all the interest in all asbestos/personal-injury claims "except the roughly $250 that he indicated he held for [Barbara] and would give her after trial." The court found that under its division of property, William received personal property worth $30,800 more than the amount awarded to Barbara. The personal property awarded to Barbara consisted mainly of a 1995 Lincoln Town Car.
Each party claimed dissipation by the other, but the court did not find that either party had dissipated marital assets. Specifically, the court found as follows:
"6. In lieu of dissipation, the court finds that husband has received prejudgment distributions from the marital estate of approximately $7,800[,] being comprised [sic] of $6,000 in withdraws [sic] from the marital 'CMA' account and the additional $1,800 which ...