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In Re Marriage of Lauretta L. Kehoe v. Frank L. Farkas

March 16, 2012

IN RE MARRIAGE OF LAURETTA L. KEHOE,
PETITIONER-APPELLANT
v.
FRANK L. FARKAS,
RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 86 D 8821Honorable Frank Zelenzinski, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Garcia

PRESIDING JUSTICE ROBERT E. GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justice Lampkin concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Justice Garcia dissented, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Petitioner, Lauretta L. Kehoe, f/k/a/ Lauretta L. Farkas, filed a complaint for a dissolution of her marriage against respondent, Frank L. Farkas, her husband of six years. In 1988, a judgment of dissolution of marriage was entered with a marital settlement agreement and qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) incorporated into the judgment. As part of their settlement agreement, the parties agreed that Lauretta shall be entitled to one-half of the value of Frank's pension from the date of his employment with the Village of Schiller Park as a police officer to the date of the separation of the parties.

¶ 2 Upon Frank's retirement, Lauretta was subsequently informed by the Schiller Park Police Pension Fund that they only pay pension benefits based on a court entered qualified Illinois domestic relations order (QILDRO) and are not required to honor Lauretta's QDRO.

¶ 3 On January 14, 2010, Lauretta filed a motion for entry of a QILDRO along with a proposed order directing respondent to sign his consent to the QILDRO. The motion and proposed QILDRO set forth a method of calculation for determining the value of the marital portion of Frank's pension. After a post judgment hearing on June 2, 2010, where Frank objected to Lauretta's proposed calculation of pension benefits, the trial court entered a written order denying Lauretta's motion for entry of a QILDRO.

¶ 4 After conducting several hearings and receiving memoranda of law from both parties, the trial court subsequently denied Lauretta's motion to reconsider on February 18, 2011.

¶ 5 Lauretta appeals, arguing the trial court erred in refusing to grant the motion for entry of a QILDRO and denying her motion for reconsideration. We affirm.

¶ 6 BACKGROUND

¶ 7 The parties were married on April 28, 1979, and separated on or about August 31, 1985. On December 28, 1988, the trial court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage. At the time of dissolution, there was one minor child born to the parties, James Francis Farkas, age 5, and one minor child adopted by the parties, Katharine Anne Farkas, age 13. Lauretta received sole care, custody, control, and education of the minor children with reasonable visitation granted to Frank.

¶ 8 A marriage settlement agreement was incorporated in the dissolution judgment and provided for the custody, support, visitation schedules, and expenses of the parties' minor children and settlement of property rights. The marriage settlement agreement included a section addressing the division of Frank's pension. The marriage settlement states:

"The parties agree that LAURETTA shall be entitled to receive one half of the value of the pension from the date of FRANK's employment with the Village of Schiller Park to the date of the separation of the parties, which is August 31, 1985 (hereinafter referred to as 'one-half').

*** FRANK further understands that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order reflecting the above shall be lodged with the Schiller Park Police Pension Fund directing them and ordering them to pay one-half (1/2) of FRANK'S pension to LAURETTA commencing at the time of FRANK'S retirement or termination of employment from the Village of Schiller Park. The right of LAURETTA to receive FRANK'S one-half (1/2) pension shall not survive after LAURETTA'S death."

A QDRO was also incorporated in the judgment. The QDRO identifies the amount of Frank's pension that is payable to Lauretta and specifies the manner in which the amount is to be determined. The QDRO directs and orders the Schiller Park Police Pension Fund to distribute the amount agreed upon in the parties' marriage settlement agreement. The court did not place a present value on Frank's pension at the time of the dissolution, and neither the marriage settlement agreement nor the QDRO estimated how much the pension was worth at the time of separation between the two parties. The QDRO provides:

"The interest in the Husband's name in the SCHILLER PARK POLICE PENSION FUND (hereinafter referred to as 'PLAN') or successor, shall be divided between the parties as follows:

Marital Portion: An amount equal to the balance in the Husband's account (in the case of a defined contribution plan) and/or the amount accumulated by the Husband under the terms of the plan (in the case of a defined benefit plan) for each Plan multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of years (months) of marriage during which benefits were accumulated prior to the 'Marital Retirement Date', aforesaid, and the denominator of which is the total number of years (months) during which benefits were accumulated prior to the marital retirement date.

3. Benefit Due Wife: Types-Formula: The Wife's share of the marital portion of each Plan shall be determined in accordance with the type of benefits available and shall be calculated ...


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