The trial court ordered the husband to pay $43,180 towards wife’s outstanding attorneys’ fees. He was also ordered to pay $4,800 per month for child support for their four children.

Generally, payment of attorney fees is the responsibility of the party who incurred the fees. The Marriage Act permits a trial court to order a party to contribute to the other party’s attorney fees.  The court can do so because of the parties’ respective financial situations.

One of the main issues at trial was the proper calculation of husband’s net income.  The court said that his net monthly income was $12,000.  The court did not believe husband’s testimony.

Husband had also filled out various financial applications that contradicted his own testimony about his income. Twice husband had listed his monthly income on finance applications at $13,500.  But, he testified that he never made more than $10,000 per month.

In particular, husband admitted that he handles significant amounts of cash for his family company.  When asked how much, he answered “it varies.” Husband is the sole secretary for the company.  He holds a 25% ownership interest. He counts the cash.  He admitted to receiving “gifts” from his mother of $50,000 per year for the five years before trial. Such “gifts” included paying for his health insurance. Also, the court found husband’s federal tax returns to be inconsistent, both internally and with each other.

On the other hand, the wife suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.  She had a significantly lower earning capacity than the husband.  The husband had been arguing that he and the wife were in similar financial situations after the divorce.  But, the appellate court held that the trial court properly considered all of the statutory factors when ordering the contribution.

In re Marriage of Sobieski, 2013 IL App (2d) 111146.

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