In re MARRIAGE OF DOMINIC J. FALETTI, JR., as Guardian of the Estate and Person of Dominic J. Faletti, Sr., a Disabled Adult, Petitioner-Appellee,
THOMAS KASHER, as Guardian of the Estate of Virginia Faletti, and TERESA CONVERY, as Guardian of the Person of Virginia Faletti, a Disabled Adult, Respondents-Appellants.
from the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee
County, Illinois, Circuit No. 14-D-188 Honorable Adrienne W.
Albrecht Judge, Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justices Lytton and Schmidt concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE.
1 The respondents, Thomas Kasher, guardian of the estate of
Virginia Faletti, and Teresa Convery, guardian of the person
of Virginia Faletti, appeal from the circuit court's
denial of their motion to vacate the bifurcated judgment of
dissolution of marriage. The respondents argue the circuit
court abused its discretion when it entered the bifurcated
judgment of dissolution of marriage without jurisdiction,
consent, or notice.
3 On June 3, 2014, the petitioner, Dominic J. Faletti, Jr.,
guardian of the estate and person of Dominic J. Faletti, Sr.,
filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage of Dominic
J. Faletti Sr. and Virginia Faletti. Dominic and Virginia
were married on April 9, 1975. Dominic and Virginia had no
marital children. The petition alleged that Virginia had been
guilty of extreme and repeated mental cruelty toward Dominic,
irreconcilable differences had caused an irretrievable
breakdown of the marriage, and all efforts at reconciliation
4 On June 24, 2014, the case was called for a hearing on the
grounds for dissolution. Dominic J. Faletti, Jr. testified
that reconciliation was no longer possible and Virginia
indicated that she no longer wanted to maintain the marriage.
The court found that irreconcilable differences had caused an
irretrievable breakdown in the marriage of Dominic and
Virginia who had lived apart for six months. The parties
indicated that they intended to file affidavits waiving the
remainder of the two-year separation period.
5 On September 12, 2014, counsel for the petitioner,
Christopher Bohlen, filed a motion for entry of judgment of
dissolution of marriage. The motion alleged that Dominic
resided in a skilled care facility, he had no access to
marital funds, and needed to apply for Medicaid. The motion
attested "[s]o long as [Dominic] is married, he is
unable to apply for Medicaid, as the assets belonging to both
the husband and the wife would be applicable to defray any
costs." In a subsequent emergency motion for temporary
maintenance, the petitioner alleged that Virginia had evicted
Dominic from the marital home, and Virginia exercised total
control over the financial assets of the parties. Thereafter,
the respondents filed an emergency motion for temporary
maintenance alleging that Virginia also resided in a skilled
care facility, and she lacked sufficient funds to pay for her
housing and care.
6 On October 8, 2014, the case was called for status of
discovery and presentation of the judgment of dissolution. In
open court, Bohlen tendered to Kimberley Donald, counsel for
the respondents, a proposed judgment of dissolution. Donald
responded "I'm not giving the authority at this
time. I need time to review it, and then I will give you ***
the authority." Bohlen requested a short continuance
noting "[t]here's some urgency from the standpoint
of, uh, nursing home payments and so forth[.]" The court
continued the case for status of discovery and presentation
of judgment of dissolution.
7 At the October 24, 2014, hearing, Bohlen said that he had
filed a motion for temporary maintenance because he
"thought that there was going to be a judgment of
dissolution entered. In that event, we weren't seeking
temporary maintenance-because he would then become, based
upon the information we had, eligible for Medicaid
In light of the fact, then, that there was the-After the
fact, it was determined there was an objection to the entry
of the judgment of dissolution. Bifurcated."
further stated that in 2013 Virginia received a $1, 066, 000
medical malpractice settlement. Bohlen alleged that the
respondents had not disclosed the location of these funds in
their discovery. Donald explained that the money was no
longer in the respondents' control as it had been placed
in a revocable trust for the benefit of Virginia's
biological children. Donald thought that Virginia no longer
had the capacity to revoke the trust. Due to concerns
regarding Virginia's mental acuity, Donald was pursuing
guardianship proceedings on behalf of Virginia. The court
ordered the trustee and trust drafting attorney to appear at
the next hearing and continued the case.
8 At the December 16, 2014, hearing, Bohlen said that the
respondents had provided vague and insufficient responses to
his interrogatories. Attorney Roy Sabuco, who had entered his
appearance as co-counsel for the respondents, argued that a
decline in Virginia's cognitive functioning had rendered
her incapable of reasonably responding to the discovery
requests. Sabuco said that they had not yet initiated
guardianship proceedings for Virginia because her cognitive
function only recently exhibited a rapid decline. Sabuco also
noted that the respondents had not received an accounting
from the petitioners of the funds held in the parties'
joint account. Toward the end of the hearing, Bohlen
requested the entry of a bifurcated judgment of dissolution
of marriage. Sabuco responded:
"we don't have any objection philosophically with
the entry of that judgment; but I-I think that for the same
reasons that we're having difficulty with the discovery
we need the guardian to make that decision. I can represent
to the Court that once a guardian is appointed that-that the
guardian will-will agree to the entry of the judgment. But
I-you know, I don't think ...