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In Re Marriage of Margaret Tomlins

January 14, 2013

IN RE MARRIAGE OF MARGARET TOMLINS,
PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
AND CHRISTOPHER GLENN,
RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 08-D-645 Honorable David J. Dubicki and Michael Risinger, Judges, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Carter

JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 The petitioner, Margaret Tomlins, filed a petition for dissolution of her marriage to the respondent, Christopher Glenn. After a hearing on grounds for dissolution, the circuit court entered a bifurcated judgment, which dissolved the marriage and reserved other issues for future resolution. On appeal, Christopher argues, inter alia, that the court erred when it found that grounds existed to justify the dissolution of his marriage to Margaret and when it entered the bifurcated judgment. We affirm.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 On October 29, 2008, Margaret filed a petition for dissolution of her marriage to Christopher. In the petition, Margaret alleged that the parties were married on May 10, 2000; that they had two children together, John (Jack), born December 2, 2000, and Nicholas, born December 21, 2003; and that Christopher subjected Margaret to "extreme and repeated mental cruelty without cause or provocation" such that dissolution was proper.*fn1 After considerable pretrial litigation, on December 10, 2010, Margaret filed a motion for leave to file an amended petition for dissolution, which sought to add an allegation that the marriage should be dissolved on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. The circuit court granted that motion on March 24, 2011.

¶ 4 On April 14, 2011, the circuit court held a hearing on whether grounds existed to dissolve the marriage. Margaret was the sole witness at the hearing and testified to the parties' long history of marital problems. She testified that she and Christopher first separated in early 2002 when they were living in Minnesota. Due to their marital problems, she obtained an apartment where she stayed at times until summer 2002. She was in individual counseling at the time, and she and Christopher attended approximately five or six marital counseling sessions together. In summer 2002, she moved back in with Christopher.

¶ 5 Margaret testified that she and Christopher continued to have problems after she moved back in with him. They constantly argued over their living conditions and arrangements, and Christopher did not like that Jack was in day care after Margaret lost her job in October 2002 and decided to pursue a medical doctorate. She believed her lack of income was causing stress for their relationship, and stated that Christopher had suggested that her value to the family was diminished at that time.

¶ 6 In September 2003, Margaret moved to Bloomington with Jack to live with her mother and her mother's husband. Margaret moved back in with Christopher in Minnesota in November 2003, where she stayed through September 2005. In October 2005, she and Christopher bought a house for her in Peoria, and she moved there with Jack and Nicholas in December 2005.

¶ 7 In 2006 and 2007, Christopher visited Margaret and their children infrequently in Peoria. In 2006, Christopher left his job with Sprint and started his own company; he spent approximately nine months on the road for work during 2007. Later in 2007, he took a job with Sprint in Chicago so he could visit Margaret and their children in Peoria on weekends. After several months of this arrangement, he transitioned his job to the Peoria area.

¶ 8 In summer 2008, Margaret decided to pursue a divorce. She claimed that she and Christopher continued fighting, and did so in front of the children.

¶ 9 Margaret not only testified about the verbal altercations that she had with Christopher over the years, but also about physical confrontations. She stated that Christopher was physically violent toward her on "too numerous occasions to count." Margaret mentioned episodes in Minnesota in which Christopher threw an ironing board at her; kicked a bathroom door open to get to her; and grabbed her in the neck area, thereby pulling the seams out of her shirts. She also mentioned episodes that occurred in Illinois; in particular, she described a 2007 incident in which 31/2 -year-old Nicholas saw Christopher force Margaret's head to the bathroom floor after forcing open the door to get to her.

ΒΆ 10 Margaret also testified that she and Christopher had not had sex since October 2008 and had ...


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