In re MARRIAGE OF AMY M. BRILL, Petitioner-Appellee, and RANDY L. BRILL, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of McHenry County, No. 15-DV-73
Honorable Christopher M. Harmon, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hudson and Justice Jorgensen
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Respondent, Randy L. Brill, appeals from the McHenry County
circuit court's judgment for dissolution of his marriage
to petitioner, Amy M. Brill. Randy argues that the trial
court erred by (1) miscalculating Amy's annual gross
income for purposes of maintenance, (2) incorrectly applying
the statutory guidelines in calculating maintenance, (3)
failing to impute income to Amy for purposes of maintenance,
(4) classifying as marital property Randy's interest in a
house he bought with his girlfriend, and (5) valuing
Randy's interest in the house he bought with his
girlfriend and awarding Amy half that amount. For the
following reasons, we affirm as modified.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 In July 1992, Amy and Randy were married in McHenry County.
On January 30, 2015, Amy filed a petition for dissolution of
marriage. When Amy filed her petition, their son was 22 years
old and their daughter was 25 years old. On May 17 and 18,
2016, the trial court heard testimony and received into
evidence numerous exhibits. After the hearing, the trial
court distributed the parties' marital and nonmarital
property and awarded Amy maintenance in the amount of $1, 840
a month for 96 months.
4 At the hearing, Amy testified as follows. She suffered from
many health problems, having been diagnosed with diabetes,
hypertriglyceridemia, Barrett's esophagus, hypertension,
hypercholesterolemia, and partial lipodystrophy. Amy had been
diabetic for 20 years and used an insulin pump. Her diabetes
caused additional medical problems, including neuropathy,
high blood pressure, diabetic retinopathy, and portal vein
hypertension. In 2014 Amy was hospitalized twice, for
pancreatitis and hypertriglyceridemia, for 9 or 10 days in
May and for two weeks in December. During the December
hospitalization, she was in the intensive care unit. Due to
her illnesses, Amy was prescribed and took five medications
5 Amy testified that she earned $23, 000 a year at her
current job, at Mercy Health Systems. She worked between 32
and 37 hours a week and occasionally worked overtime. Amy
could not work more hours and take care of her health.
Amy's biweekly paystubs dated March 31, April 14, and
April 28, 2016, were admitted into evidence, showing gross
wages of approximately $1, 041, $1, 260, and $1, 033,
respectively. Amy's paystubs also showed that she was
paid an hourly rate of $13.61. Amy's April 28, 2016,
paystub showed year-to-date gross wages of $9, 006.
6 Amy began working at Mercy Health Systems in July 2015.
Before that, she worked at the Family Practice Center, in
billing. Amy worked at the Family Practice Center from July
2014 until the day after Christmas 2014, at an annual salary
of $40, 000. Amy was "terminated" two weeks after
her hospitalization in December 2014, because she
"couldn't learn the computer system like they
expected" her to, and, while she was in the hospital,
"they outsourced her job." So, when Amy returned to
work, her job was "no longer a full-time position."
7 Before working at the Family Practice Center, Amy worked at
Spinal Sports Rehab for 8 to 10 years, until she was
terminated in June 2014, two weeks after she was
hospitalized. Amy did the billing and, when she was
hospitalized, "the billing just basically stopped,
" so her employer "outsourced" the billing and
8 Amy was content to stay at her current job because
"they provide good health insurance, which I've
never had on my own before." The other practices Amy
worked for did not offer health insurance benefits. Amy was
currently covered by Randy's health insurance. If she
continued to work at Mercy, she could obtain health insurance
as an employee. Amy paid for disability insurance through
9 Amy received $1, 000 a month in temporary maintenance from
Randy. For approximately the past two years, beginning about
mid- to late 2014, she was "short" in paying her
bills by about $1, 000. Her medications cost about $300 a
month. Amy's hospital bills were "astronomical"
and, although she made small payments on them, most of them
were in collection. Because she needed a special diet due to
her illnesses, her grocery bill was about $800 a month.
Amy's parents helped pay her bills, including for rent,
medications, a new insulin pump, travel to Iowa to attend the
parties' son's graduation, work uniforms, moving
expenses, and groceries. Amy's parents did not support
Amy while she and Randy were "together." Amy did
not think that she could get a job making more money, because
she did not know the new billing and medical-coding systems
and she could not work more hours while taking care of her
health. At her current job at Mercy, Amy was a receptionist.
10 During cross-examination, Amy testified that she owed her
parents "a lot of money." The "debts"
section of her financial affidavit, however, did not list any
money owed to her parents. Amy's parents
"possibly" had provided her with $30, 000, or about
$1, 875 a month, in the past 16 months.
11 Steven Crowley, Amy's father, testified as follows. In
the past 18 months, Crowley had provided Amy with
approximately $34, 536, of which $32, 387 was loans and $2,
149 was gifts. Amy did not sign promissory notes for the
loans, but Crowley believed that she would pay him back when
she was "capable."
12 Randy testified as follows. Randy had worked as an
estimator and project manager for the same company for the
past 20 years and currently earned $91, 000 a year. Randy and
his girlfriend, Stephanie Bailey, closed on a house located
in Island Lake (the Island Lake house) in April 2015. The
down payment for the house came from Stephanie's 401(k)
account. Randy did not contribute any money to the down
payment. The outstanding mortgage on the house was
approximately $320, 000. Randy opined that the current value
of the house was approximately $300, 000, based on a listing
of an "exact same house" in the same subdivision
that he believed was listed for under $320, 000 and had been
on the market for "quite a while."
13 During cross-examination, Randy testified that on his
financial affidavit he valued the Island Lake house at $350,
14 During redirect examination, Randy testified that he and
Stephanie had "an arrangement" that when the Island
Lake house was sold Stephanie would receive her 401(k) money
back. If there were proceeds left over, she and Randy would
split them "50/50."
15 Stephanie testified as follows. Stephanie and Randy lived
together in the Island Lake house, which they owned together.
An agreement for the purchase of the Island Lake house was
admitted into evidence. The agreement was signed by Stephanie
and Randy in August 2014 and showed $17, 860 in deposits and
down payments on the house. Stephanie testified that the $17,
860 came from her 401(k) account; Randy provided none of it.
A "HUD Settlement Statement" was admitted into
evidence. The statement indicated that Stephanie and Randy
closed on the house in April 2015, and it showed deposits and
down payments totaling $17, 860. Stephanie and Randy shared a
joint checking account. They deposited their paychecks into
that account and paid the household bills from it. Randy paid
half of the mortgage payments on the Island Lake house.
16 During cross-examination, Stephanie testified that she
deposited the funds from her 401(k) account into her and
Randy's joint checking account. The Island Lake house was
a single-family ranch house and cost $355, 000. In August
2014, before Stephanie had received the money from her 401(k)
account, Stephanie and Randy paid the first earnest-money
deposit of $2, 000 from their joint checking account. In
September 2014, Stephanie and Randy paid the $16, 860 balance
of the earnest money out of their joint checking account.
17 During Stephanie's redirect examination, statements
and cancelled checks from Stephanie's and Randy's
joint checking account, and checks issued to Stephanie from
her 401(k) account fund manager, Charles Schwab (Schwab),
were admitted into evidence. A Schwab check stub dated August
27, 2014, indicated that a check was issued to Stephanie in
the amount of $18, 000. The bank statements showed that on
September 3, 2014, $18, 000 was deposited into
Stephanie's and Randy's joint checking account. A
check in the amount of $16, 860, dated September 6, 2014, was
made payable to the builder of the Island Lake house.
Stephanie testified that this check was for the second
earnest-money payment. The bank statements also showed that
on March 24, 2015, $25, 000 was deposited into the joint
account. Stephanie testified that the source of the money was
her 401(k) account. The bank statements also showed two
separate withdrawals on April 23, 2015, for $3, 000 and $14,
000. Stephanie testified that "they" needed the $3,
000 because "they" were originally told to bring
$14, 000 to the closing and then "they" were told
to bring $17, 000.
18 On July 7, 2016, the trial court issued a "Memorandum
Decision and Order" containing a summation of the
evidence, the court's findings of fact, and its rulings
regarding, inter alia, the classification and
distribution of assets and the duration and amount of
maintenance awarded to Amy.
19 Regarding the Island Lake house, the trial court found
that Randy's undivided one-half interest in that property
was marital property. The ...