The parties had been divorced for eight years. Husband had been ordered to pay maintenance to Wife. Husband failed to make payments as ordered. The parties agreed to a modification.  Husband would make several payments totaling $500,000 in maintenance. He claimed that she had more assets than she showed to him during discovery. She had enticed him into making the agreement.  He still owed $150,000.00 to Wife.

The Court heard testimony from the parties for three days.  It went over all of the discovery that had been done.  The Court denied his petition to vacate.  Husband did not prove that Wife had kept her assets concealed from him.

The Court also ordered Husband to pay about $88,000 for Wife’s attorney’s fees. The case had dragged on for three years since Husband filed his Petition to Vacate. Husband appealed.

The Appellate Court also said that Husband did not prove his case against wife. Husband had knowledge of Wife’s accounts well before he filed his petition.

Husband said that she had money in an additional account. Wife said that she owned it with her son. The court believed that it belonged to son and Wife. Husband had sent out subpoenas before they came to the agreement.  The account owned by son and Wife was included. But, he did not do any follow-up discovery after that.

He can’t argue now that she is guilty of fraud. He could have answered his questions before.  All he had to do was issue more subpoenas. Or, do other necessary discovery.

You have to do your homework the first time around. Many times, a party does not want to get involved in lengthy discovery. The desire to move forward and expect all will be OK can be very strong.

The Appellate Court also said that Husband owed her $88,000 in attorney fees.  He could have just paid the $150,000 for maintenance in the first place. He would not have owed any attorney fees.

In re Marriage of Benjamin, 2017 IL App (1st) 161862, August 14, 2017.

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