The Court entered judgment of divorce in 2005. The parties were married 30 years.
The parties remarried in 2007. Wife again filed for divorce in 2011.
In 2015, wife filed a petition to vacate the 2005 divorce judgment. She said that she had learned that husband had fraudulently concealed the sale and value of his business. Also, husband had asked wife to sign a prenup 5 days before their 2007 marriage. This agreement in no way included that husband had this business.
In less than 2 hours after the 2005 judgment for divorce had been entered, husband had agreed to sell this business for $16 million. The trial court denied the wife’s petition to reopen the divorce case. The court stated that wife should have known at the time that she signed the prenuptial agreement in 2007 that husband had a lot more assets than he had in 2005 when they divorced.
The Appellate Court, on the other hand, overturned the trial court’s denial. It looked at the evidence in a different way. It said that the husband’s assets could have simply increased from the 2005 divorce to the 2007 marriage. The husband had $7,833,053 in assets and a net worth of $6,898,453 on March 8, 2007. That was the date the prenuptial agreement was signed. This does not automatically establish that he had those assets on August 5, 2005 (the date of the first divorce).
Husband argues that wife failed to conduct discovery before the 2005 divorce. He said that she made her choices as to what to accept for a settlement of her marital property interest. The Appellate Court said that this was not the issue here.
The trial court found, and we agree, that wife’s petition sufficiently alleged that she had a valid claim. Her lack of diligence in the 2005 divorce discovery period was excusable. She had alleged that husband fraudulently concealed the evidence she needed. The sole issue here is whether the court was wrong in finding that wife failed to exercise due diligence in bringing the petition. The case was reversed and sent back to the trial court.
In re Marriage of Van Ert, 2016 IL App (3d) 150433, May 10, 2016.
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