In re MARRIAGE OF PASHA N. WALTHER, Petitioner-Appellant, and LEILANI E. WALTHER, Respondent-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, No. 14-D-1294 Illinois, Honorable Kenneth L. Zelazo,
JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Schmidt concurred in the judgment and
opinion. Presiding Justice Carter dissented, with opinion.
1 The petitioner, Pasha N. Walther, appeals from the circuit
court's denial of his petition to terminate maintenance.
Pasha argues that the court failed to find that the
respondent, Leilani E. Walther, was cohabitating on a
resident, continuing conjugal basis with Christopher Sawyer,
which justified terminating maintenance.
3 On December 14, 2014, the circuit court entered a judgment
for the dissolution of the marriage of Leilani and Pasha
Walther. The judgment incorporated by reference the marital
settlement agreement entered by the parties. Section 4 of the
agreement obliged Pasha to pay spousal maintenance to Leilani
in the amount of $2500 per month for a period of 5 months and
$3000 per month for a period of 91 months. Section 4.3 of the
agreement stated Pasha's maintenance obligation would
terminate "if Leilani cohabits with another person on a
resident, continuing conjugal basis, in accordance with
Section 510(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of
Marriage Act [(Act)] 750 ILCS 5/510(c)."
4 On April 28, 2016, Pasha filed a petition to terminate
maintenance. The petition alleged Leilani had been in a
dating relationship with Christopher since early 2015. In the
summer of 2015, Leilani moved into Christopher's
residence and continued to live with Christopher while
maintaining a separate apartment.
5 At the hearing on the petition, Pasha called Leilani as an
adverse witness. Leilani testified that the parties separated
on September 1, 2013. In December 2013, Leilani reconnected
with Christopher, a man that she had known since she was 15
years old. In March 2014, Leilani visited Christopher in
Gretna, Louisiana. In total, Leilani made four trips to
Louisiana to see Christopher in 2014. During the trips, she
slept at Christopher's house.
6 On July 28, 2014, Pasha filed a petition for dissolution of
marriage. At the time, Leilani had a relationship with
Christopher; however, she "wouldn't call it
dating." Leilani acknowledged that her relationship
included sexual intercourse.
7 In October 2014, Pasha kicked Leilani out of the
parties' residence in Plainfield, Illinois. Leilani moved
back to Louisiana where she initially stayed with a friend
until she was able to rent an apartment. On November 1, 2014,
Leilani rented a one-bedroom apartment in Gretna. The
apartment was located at 1615 Carol Sue Avenue, and it was
approximately 2½ miles from Christopher's house.
Initially, Leilani's apartment was sparsely furnished,
and she slept on a mattress on the floor. Leilani said the
apartment was her residence, but she acknowledged that she
had stayed at Christopher's house "at different
times." Leilani denied staying at Christopher's
house on "a regular and continuing basis." However,
counsel for Pasha impeached Leilani's statement with her
deposition testimony that she "began regularly
sleeping" at Christopher's house in May 2015.
Leilani slept at Christopher's residence "on a daily
basis" during the months of August, September, October,
and November 2015. While Leilani stayed at Christopher's
house, she had a monogamous relationship with Christopher.
8 In addition to staying at Christopher's house, Leilani
kept some of her clothing at Christopher's house and
occasionally did her laundry there, washed Christopher's
clothing, bought groceries for Christopher's household,
stored groceries in Christopher's refrigerator, and
prepared meals at the house. Leilani did not have a key to
Christopher's house, but she freely entered and left the
house through an unlocked back door.
9 On November 8, 2015, the parties' daughter, Ashley,
moved to Louisiana to live with Leilani. After Leilani picked
Ashley up at the airport, they drove to Christopher's
house where Leilani had been staying for the past seven
months. There, Leilani directed Ashley to the bedroom that
she was to share with Christopher's daughter, Amber. At
the time, Leilani shared a bedroom with Christopher.
10 After Ashley moved in, Leilani and Christopher went on
trips to Biloxi, Mississippi, to attend concerts. On some of
these trips, Leilani and Christopher spent the night in
Biloxi while Ashley stayed at Christopher's house.
Leilani split the cost of these trips with Christopher.
11 Between July 2015 and April 2016, Leilani occasionally
cashed Christopher's business checks using her personal
account. Leilani was otherwise unfamiliar ...