In re MARRIAGE OF LINDA ROBERTS, Petitioner-Appellant, and DAVID E. ROBERTS, Respondent-Appellee.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Appeal No. 3-14-0263 Circuit No. 11-D-851. Honorable Katherine Gorman, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice McDade and Justice O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 After 37 years of marriage, petitioner, a teacher, filed a petition for dissolution of marriage against respondent, a disabled pharmacist. The trial court divided the property of the parties, and awarded each party a one-half interest in petitioner's pension from the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). Petitioner appeals, arguing that the trial court should have awarded her pension solely to her, or, alternatively, should have granted her maintenance in an amount equal to the payments respondent would receive from her pension. We reverse and remand, finding that the trial court erred in awarding half of petitioner's TRS pension to respondent.
¶ 2 Petitioner, Linda Roberts, and respondent, David Roberts, married in 1974. Petitioner filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in 2011. The petition stated that there were "no arrangements between the parties concerning maintenance or the allocation of the property held by the parties." Plaintiff requested that she "be awarded a just and equitable portion of the marital property" and "be granted such other and further relief as may be appropriate under the evidence and circumstances." Respondent filed a response to the petition, as well as a petition for temporary maintenance. The parties filed cross petitions for dissipation of assets.
¶ 3 Testimony presented at trial established that the parties had three children during their marriage. All of the children are now emancipated adults. At the time of trial, petitioner was 62 years old and working as a middle school science teacher. She had submitted her retirement notice and had two more years to work before it took effect. Respondent was 61 years old and worked as a pharmacist from 1974 to 2009. In 2009, he was found to be disabled and began receiving Social Security disability benefits. In 2013, he was receiving disability benefits of $2, 386 per month.
¶ 4 In 1992, petitioner was hired as a teacher for Bartonville School District #66. Prior to that, she worked as a nurse for several years and contributed to Social Security. From 1992 on, she contributed to a TRS pension instead of Social Security. When she retires, her TRS pension will pay $2, 056 per month. Her Social Security income at age 62 will be $282 per month.
¶ 5 Both parties submitted financial affidavits. According to respondent's financial affidavit, his monthly expenses total $2, 235.61. According to petitioner's second amended financial affidavit, her monthly expenses total $4, 064.36. In 2012, petitioner's net income was $37, 694.52, and respondent's net income was $27, 319.40.
¶ 6 In her closing statement to the court, petitioner requested that all of the parties' retirement accounts, except for her TRS pension, be equally divided between the parties. She requested that her TRS pension be awarded solely to her.
¶ 7 After hearing the evidence and testimony, the trial court announced its oral ruling on the petition for dissolution and motions filed by the parties. The court equally divided the parties' retirement accounts, which had a value of over $300, 000. The court also ordered that petitioner's TRS pension be divided equally between the parties by a "Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order" (QILDRO). The court ordered that the parties pay their own debts and their own attorney's fees. The court denied respondent's request for maintenance and found no dissipation of marital assets by either party. The court equally divided the cash assets between the parties.
¶ 8 After the court announced its ruling, petitioner asked the court to allow her to pay respondent one-half of the current value of her TRS pension instead of dividing future payments between her and respondent and issuing a QILDRO in favor of respondent. The court declined, stating: "[T]here's no way to actually ascertain what the value is. I mean, so I'm going to stick with my original order and ask that it be QLDRO'd [sic]."
¶ 9 Petitioner filed a motion to reconsider the court's ruling, arguing that the court erred in dividing her TRS pension and failing to award her maintenance because, upon her retirement, she will receive a total of $1, 310 per month from her pension and Social Security, while respondent will receive monthly income of $3, 414.90 from half of her pension and his Social Security disability payments. At the hearing on the motion, petitioner requested that the court either (1) award her TRS pension solely to her, or (2) order respondent to pay monthly maintenance equal to the amount he would receive from her TRS pension upon her retirement. The trial court denied petitioner's motion.
¶ 10 I
¶ 11 Petitioner first argues that the trial court should have awarded her entire pension to her to equalize the ...