Parties prepared for their divorce trial. The parties had plenty of time during pretrial discovery and during the trial. They could have presented evidence of the value of the house and the two businesses. Therefore, the trial court was not able to value certain properties.
Husband argued that the two businesses were his sole property. The court stated that the businesses were marital property. The court found that the husband acquired the businesses during the marriage. So, there is a presumption that the businesses were marital.
Husband had argued they were a gift to him. The trial court found that the husband was not able to prove that he had acquired the business as a gift. There were no stock certificates issued.
The court did make a division of the assets to the parties. The wife was awarded the house. The husband was awarded the two businesses.
Husband appealed. He argued that 1) the court should have valued the assets before dividing them between the parties. And, 2) his ownership interest in the two businesses should have been nonmarital.
The Appellate Court agreed that the trial court was right. Discovery was open for more than two years. There was no indication in the record that the husband sought an appraisal of the house. Husband also did not hire an expert to determine the value of his ownership interests in the two corporations.
The husband had not presented evidence of value for assets. He had stonewalled discovery requested by wife. She had presented what little she had. The trial court found that it was the burden of both parties to present sufficient proof of value to the court.
Appellate Courts cannot continue to reverse and remand dissolution cases. Not when the parties have had an adequate opportunity to introduce evidence. They failed to do so. Parties should not be allowed to benefit on review from their failure to introduce evidence at trial.
IRMO Hluska, 2011 IL App (1st) 092636.
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