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In re Marriage of Dowd

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

June 20, 2013

In re MARRIAGE OF SHARON DOWD, Petitioner-Appellant, and MICHAEL DOWD, Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois, Circuit No. 10-D-950 Honorable Robert Baron, Judge Presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE WRIGHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.



¶ 1 On August 3, 2011, the trial court entered a judgment dissolving the marriage of petitioner, Sharon Dowd, and respondent, Michael Dowd. On appeal, Sharon argues the trial court abused its discretion by awarding her only 20% of Michael's bonuses between $50, 001 and $100, 000 per year, and failing to award her any share of Michael's bonuses exceeding $100, 000 each year in her maintenance award. Sharon also argues the trial court erred by denying her petition for contribution to attorney fees. We affirm.


¶ 3 The parties were married on September 14, 1990. No children were born during this marriage, a second marriage for each party. However, during the course of her marriage to Michael, Sharon assisted in raising Michael's daughter from his first marriage.

¶ 4 On May 14, 2010, Sharon filed a petition for dissolution of marriage citing irreconcilable differences. By agreement, the trial court entered a temporary order requiring Michael to pay certain expenses pending resolution of all issues, including payments for the mortgage on the marital residence and $2, 200 in monthly temporary maintenance to Sharon.

¶ 5 Ultimately, the parties resolved a majority of the dissolution issues by agreement but could not agree on the amount for maintenance. Therefore, the court scheduled a hearing for April 20, 2011 regarding any remaining contested issues. On that date, Michael filed a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage.

¶ 6 During the April 20, 2011 hearing, the court learned that Michael was currently employed as director of operations for City Beverage Illinois and had been employed by City Beverage, or its predecessors, since April 1984. Michael's base salary from 2006 through 2010 was $150, 000, but in April 2011, it increased to $165, 000. According to Michael's testimony, Michael earned $290, 000[1] in total gross income for 2010, including $145, 000 in gross bonuses. Michael testified that he is eligible to receive a bonus of up to $100, 000 each year.[2] Michael testified that his current monthly income totaled $28, 697.16, [3] including annual bonuses, and his monthly expenses totaled $7, 167.61. He anticipated his postdivorce monthly expenses to be $3, 262. The balance on Michael's 401(k) plan as of March 24, 2011 was $274, 135.06.

¶ 7 The court also heard testimony from Sharon indicating she sold real estate on a part-time basis prior to, and during, the marriage, until 2005. In August 2010, Sharon began working at Salem Village Nursing Home and continued to work there between 24 and 32 hours each week for an hourly wage of $11.00. She hoped to increased her hours at the nursing in the near future, but explained she did not have plans to renew her real estate license because it required her to attend an 8- to 12-week program, which would be difficult while maintaining her employment at the nursing home. Sharon stated she suffers from reduced mobility in her left ankle, arthritis in her knee and hip, high blood pressure, a slow thyroid, and a goiter.

¶ 8 Sharon testified before the court regarding her financial contributions to the marriage. She stated that when her marriage to Michael began in 1990, her personal savings account contained approximately $58, 000, representing her share of the proceeds from the sale of the home from her previous marriage. During the marriage, Sharon received an inheritance of approximately $90, 000 in 1993, more than $216, 000 in 2002, and an additional $430, 000 in 2005. The parties agreed Sharon used $22, 000 from her personal savings account to purchase the lot for the home constructed by Michael and Sharon on Ryehill Drive in Joliet, Illinois, which the couple occupied for 12 years. According to Sharon's testimony, she spent her $90, 000 inheritance fund, received three years after her marriage to Michael, on a new sport utility vehicle and other expenses to remodel the basement of the couple's residence on Ryehill Drive.

¶ 9 The parties stipulated that in 2001, they built a home on Schoolhouse Road in Manhattan, Illinois, for $629, 000. The couple used $124, 768.31 from marital funds, and $184, 231.69 from Sharon's nonmarital inheritance funds and secured a $320, 000 mortgage for the balance for this project. The parties refinanced the Schoolhouse Road home in 2005 for $225, 524, with Sharon contributing another $105, 666.20 from her recent and substantial inheritance funds. As of April 20, 2011, the mortgage balance on the home was $68, 000, and the home was listed for sale at $499, 000.

¶ 10 The parties stipulated that, as of April 20, 2011, Sharon had nonmarital property with a total value of $134, 356, in the form of various accounts and a horse trailer. Sharon also owned an interest in a 40-acre parcel of property, valued at $16, 000, located in Yavapai, Arizona, which she purchased with her parents. She explained to the court that she owned a 50% interest, plus one-third interest in the remaining 50%, pending the settlement of her parents' estate.

ΒΆ 11 The parties also owned a 50% interest in a Scottsdale, Arizona condominium, purchased in 2005 for $170, 000, which was paid from Sharon's inheritance money. The value of the condo as of April 20, 2011 was approximately $150, 000, with the parties' 50% interest being $75, 000. The parties ...

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