The divorcing parties had a second residence. The wife’s parents had deeded the property to the parties in joint tenancy. They still lived there. They had reserved a life estate to themselves.
The wife usually paid the real estate taxes from her bank accounts. Her father moved out. Wife (alone) managed and maintained the premises.
She located tenants for the property. She collected the rent. She deposited the rent into her personal accounts.
She frequently made improvements at the premises herself or in conjunction with family members. She testified that her husband did not work on the premises. Except on one occasion when he helped repair a steam pipe. On that occasion, she paid him for his labor. On the other hand, the husband testified that he did considerable work at the property. He could not recall being paid for it.
Husband pointed out that wife’s parents gave the parties money for use in the construction of the residence upon the property. These checks, too, were given to the parties jointly.
The wife’s parents apparently were deceased at the time of trial. There was no direct evidence of their intention at the time the gift was made.
There was the deed and the checks themselves. The only other evidence on the subject was the way the parties subsequently dealt with the property. This evidence generally showed that the parties treated the property as wifes alone.
The court looked at the factors used to determine whether the presumption of a gift to the marital estate had been overcome. The factors include the making of improvements, the payment of taxes and mortgages, the occupancy of the premises as a home or business, and the extent of control and management of the property.
The trial court found that the evidence supported the determination that the property was the wife’s nonmarital property. Husband appealed. The Appellate Court agreed with the trial court.
IRMO Hunter, 223 Ill.App.3d 947.
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