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In Re the Marriage of

August 16, 2011

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF
RICHARD D. DOERMER,
PETITIONER-APPELLEE, KATHLEEN DOERMER, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 96 D 13262 and Honorable LaQuietta Hardy, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Cunningham

PRESIDING JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Karnezis and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

On September 25, 2009, the circuit court of Cook County entered an order denying a section 2-619.1 motion to dismiss (motion to dismiss), which was filed by the petitioner, Richard Doermer (Richard), in opposition to a "petition for extension of maintenance" filed by his ex-wife and respondent, Kathleen Doermer (Kathleen). On October 20, 2009, Richard filed a motion to reconsider the circuit court's September 25, 2009 order. On April 27, 2010, the circuit court granted Richard's motion to reconsider and granted Richard's motion to dismiss, thereby dismissing Kathleen's "petition for extension of maintenance." On appeal, Kathleen argues that the circuit court relied on erroneous case law in granting Richard's motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

BACKGROUND

On October 14, 1989, Richard and Kathleen were married. On July 16, 1991, their child, Caitlin Doermer (Caitlin), was born. On September 11, 1996, Richard filed a "petition for dissolution of marriage," requesting that the marriage union be dissolved and that issues relating to child custody and marital property be determined.

On January 22, 1999, the circuit court entered a judgment for dissolution of marriage, which dissolved the couple's marriage. The judgment for dissolution of marriage incorporated the parties' marital settlement agreement, which disposed of all property and support disputes, and also incorporated the parties' joint parenting agreement, which awarded Kathleen "residential custody" of Caitlin and awarded "liberal visitation" to Richard. Pursuant to Article III, paragraph 1, of the marital settlement agreement, beginning on February 1, 1999, Richard was required to pay "unallocated maintenance and child support" to Kathleen in the amount of $5785.00 per month. Article III, paragraph 2, of the marital settlement contained the following non-modification clause:

"RICHARD's obligation to pay and KATHLEEN's right to receive maintenance shall terminate upon the first to occur of the following events: a) payment of unallocated maintenance and child support for eighty-four (84) consecutive months (seven consecutive years) following entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage; b) the death of KATHLEEN; c) the remarriage of KATHLEEN; or d)

[t]he cohabitation of KATHLEEN with another adult person on a residential conjugal basis. Thereafter, KATHLEEN shall be forever barred from receiving maintenance and thereafter KATHLEEN shall have the right to receive child support only until such time as CAITLIN attains an 'emancipation event' as hereinafter stated."

In April 2005, Richard and Kathleen agreed to modify portions of their marital settlement agreement, which was incorporated into the January 22, 1999 judgment for dissolution of marriage. On April 27, 2005, the circuit court entered an agreed order reflecting those modifications:

"1. Effective this date, Article III, paragraph 1 of the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage entered on January 22, 1999 is amended as follows:

A. [Richard] shall continue to pay unallocated maintenance and child support to [Kathleen] until January 31, 2006 in the sum of $5860.00 per month; and

B. Thereafter, commencing February 1, 2006 and through July 16, 2009, the sum of $5000.00 per month payable in two equal installments on the 1st and 15th of each ...


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