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In re Marriage of Brill

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

July 13, 2017

In re MARRIAGE OF AMY M. BRILL, Petitioner-Appellee, and RANDY L. BRILL, Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal 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 daily.

         ¶ 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 terminated Amy.

         ¶ 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 Mercy.

         ¶ 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, 000.

         ¶ 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 ...

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