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In Re Marriage of Jacqueline Goldsmith

August 26, 2011

IN RE MARRIAGE OF JACQUELINE GOLDSMITH,
PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
AND GREG E. GOLDSMITH,
RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 01 D 14779 The Honorable Lisa Ruble Murphy, Judge Presiding.

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

PRESIDING JUSTICE GARCIA delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cahill and R. E. Gordon concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The parties agreed to the entry of a judgment of dissolution of marriage that incorporated a settlement agreement in which the parties acknowledged they engaged in limited discovery. In lieu of formal discovery, each party represented and warranted that a full and complete disclosure of his or her property had been made to the other. About a year and a half after the judgment was entered, petitioner Jacqueline Goldsmith filed a "Petition to Enforce Judgment or in the Alternative to Vacate the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage," alleging she discovered respondent Greg E. Goldsmith concealed three assets worth nearly $2 million. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the respondent. The petitioner contends the trial court erred when it determined that her failure to engage in formal discovery to ascertain the respondent's net worth meant she did not act diligently as a matter of law to pursue a motion to vacate. The trial court also concluded that none of her claims over the purportedly undisclosed assets had merit to warrant consideration of her motion to enforce the judgment as a matter of law. We agree on both counts and affirm.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 The parties had been married for 10 years when they divorced in March 2003. During the marriage, the respondent was a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. According to the parties' prenuptial agreement, the respondent's seat at the Chicago Board of Trade was non-marital property and his net worth at the time was $3,351,500. During the dissolution of marriage proceedings, respondent's counsel disclosed to petitioner's counsel the net worth of the respondent as $6,525,000. The petitioner received $1.8 million in the judgment of dissolution of marriage.

¶ 4 Prior to judgment in this case, the respondent's counsel sent the petitioner an unsigned affidavit from the respondent disclosing his assets. Under the title, "My assets," the respondent disclosed:

"Waterhouse Securities - $3,100,000 Sage - $50,000 The Peoples Bank of Elkhorn - $200,000 Cambridge Bank - $100,000"

¶ 5 The judgment of dissolution incorporated a marriage settlement agreement (MSA), in which the parties acknowledged they engaged in limited discovery. At issue here, is paragraph F of the MSA.

"WHEREAS, the parties acknowledge each of them has been fully informed of the estate, income, assets and liabilities of the other, and each is conversant with the estate, income, assets and liabilities possessed by the other. Each party represents and warrants they have made a full and complete disclosure of his or her property. In the event a court of competent jurisdiction subsequently determines either party owned or possessed property not disclosed during these proceedings, said property shall be distributed pursuant to the facts delineated in 750 ILCS 5/503."

¶ 6 During the prove-up and prior to the court's approval of the MSA, the petitioner explained her reliance on the respondent's full disclosure during direct examination by her counsel.

"Q. Miss Goldsmith, you have further entered into this settlement based upon various correspondence both with [respondent's counsel] and from [respondent] who purportedly disclosed all of his assets and the values of the same, is that correct?

A. I'm relying that that information is correct.

Q. And in reliance on it, you entered into this settlement agreement, is that correct?

A. On reliance, I have."

Her counsel continued:

"Q. And you believe this judgment, based upon the representations, and your reliance on them, made by [the respondent] that [the settlement] is fair and reasonable?

A. If it is all true, yes."

The court interjected:

"THE COURT: She said if it is all true. She understood that she could have [taken] discovery ...


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