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In re Marriage of Troske

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

February 10, 2015

In re MARRIAGE OF ROBERT E. TROSKE, Petitioner-Appellant,

Motion to publish granted, February 10, 2015.

Page 87

Rule 23 order filed: January 8, 2015. Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 08-D-1153. Honorable Elizabeth R. Levy, Judge, presiding.

SYLLABUS

On appeal from a supplemental dissolution order, the appellate court rejected petitioner's arguments that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding respondent wife most of the parties' net wealth, considering the property distribution and assignment of debts, in accepting the parties' stipulation that the issues of maintenance and child support would be determined by using income figures for 2009 where the hearings on ancillary issues took place in 2011 and the order was entered in September of 2012, and in entering its order 18 months after the hearings; furthermore, there was no abuse of discretion in the court's order requiring petitioner to pay part of respondent's attorney fees, there was no indication that the judge was biased against petitioner, and finally, respondent's motion to dismiss the appeal was denied and the judgment was affirmed.

For Appellant: Barbara L. Sherer, Amanda G. Highlander, Kristen Strieker, Sherer Law Offices, Edwardsville, IL.

For Appellee: Curtis L. Blood, Collinsville, IL.

JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Cates and Justice Moore[1] concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 88

CHAPMAN, J.

[¶1] The husband, Robert E. Troske, appeals a supplemental dissolution order, raising several issues. His primary contentions

Page 89

are that (1) the trial court abused its discretion by awarding the wife, Karen M. Troske, essentially all of the couple's net wealth taking into account both the property distribution and assignment of debts; (2) the court abused its discretion by accepting the parties' stipulation that issues of maintenance and child support would be determined using income figures for 2009 where the hearings on ancillary issues took place early in 2011 and the court's order was entered in September 2012; and (3) the court abused its discretion by entering its order 18 months after the hearings. In addition, Robert argues that the court abused its discretion in ordering him to pay a portion of Karen's attorney fees and that the court was biased against him. Karen filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that this court lacks jurisdiction to consider this appeal. We ordered her motion taken with the case. We affirm the judgment and deny Karen's motion.

[¶2] The parties began dating late in 1992 or early in 1993, moved in together in November 1993, and were married in June 1995. In 1989, Robert and his previous wife, Mary Jo, purchased a lot with the intent of building a home. Robert and Mary Jo's daughter, Andrea, was born in November 1991. Mary Jo passed away due to cancer in August 1992. The home was completed in 1993. Robert, Karen, and Andrea moved into the home in November 1993 and lived there for the duration of the parties' marriage. Robert and Karen's daughter, Emily, was born in September 1998.

[¶3] The family home is one of four pieces of real estate involved in the proceedings before the trial court. During their marriage, the parties purchased 75 acres of land along with another couple. They purchased this property (the Ridgeview property) intending to build two homes on it for themselves and develop the rest. Instead, they sold the property through a series of sales. In February 2005, the title company issued a check to Robert in the amount of $505,077. However, only $497,577 was deposited. Robert and Karen used some of the proceeds from the Ridgeview sales to purchase a condominium in Florida. In addition, Robert and his parents owned a condominium in Lake of the Ozarks. At trial, questions were raised concerning (1) what happened to the proceeds from the sales of the Ridgeview property; (2) whether the family home was marital property; and (3) whether the marital estate was entitled to reimbursement for contributions to the Lake of the Ozarks condo, which was stipulated to be Robert's separate property.

[¶4] Robert and Karen began filing separate tax returns in 2007. In November 2008, Robert filed a petition for dissolution. Both parties filed numerous motions requesting various forms of temporary relief. In February 2009, Karen filed a motion for injunctive relief, asking the court to require Robert to pay delinquent property taxes for the family home. She alleged that Robert paid the property taxes on the property since it was purchased but failed to pay the 2007 property tax despite having the financial ability to do so. She attached a take-notice document, dated January 2009, which indicated that the property had been sold due to the tax deficiency and could be redeemed by paying $8,559.14 by May 13, 2009.

[¶5] In May 2009, the court entered an order restraining both parties from concealing, transferring, or encumbering any marital property and directing Robert to " make every effort" to file his 2007 and 2008 personal and corporate income tax returns within 30 days. The order further provided that the parties' Florida condo was to be listed for sale. Three months

Page 90

later, however, the condo was still not listed. The court entered an order in August 2009 directing Robert to (1) pay the 2008 real estate taxes on the family home and pay for reasonable repairs; (2) pay $2,000 per month in child support; (3) pay $750 per month in maintenance; and (4) list the Florida condo for sale. The court reserved ruling on whether to order retroactive child support and maintenance.

[¶6] Karen subsequently filed two motions for findings of indirect civil contempt, alleging that Robert failed to pay child support, maintenance, or the expenses he was ordered to pay for both the family home and the Florida condo. Karen also filed a petition for injunctive relief. She alleged that (1) the parties received $497,577 from the sales of the Ridgeview property in February 2005; and (2) Robert received $266,422 in a settlement of a mine subsidence claim involving the family home in May 2008. She further alleged that (1) Robert exercised exclusive control over these funds; (2) she did not know what became of the proceeds from the Ridgeview property; (3) she believed that Robert used the mine subsidence settlement to open two certificates of deposit; and (4) she believed that Robert would ...


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