Wife was awarded maintenance at the time of the divorce. The trial court directed the wife to remain fully employed. She was to seek out promotions and better job opportunities. It was set for review at a future date.

Husband filed a motion to terminate or reduce maintenance for the first review date.  Wife filed a motion to increase. The trial court denied his motion and continued maintenance for 18 months for a second review.

At the time of second review, the trial court entered an order terminating maintenance. The court stated that the wife failed to pursue further educational opportunities.  Wife appealed.  She argued that the prior court order did not require her to seek further education.

The appellate court stated that the trial court should not have found fault that she did not seek further education. The wife had remained employed at her current employer.  The evidence showed she took advantage of in-house training and opportunities within the company.

The appellate court found the trial court failed to recognize the limited scope of the review under the prior court order. Further education for wife should not have even been considered. The trial court abuses its discretion when it applies an improper legal standard. The appellate court reversed the termination of maintenance. The case was sent back to the trial court for further proceedings.

IRMO Heasley, 2014 IL App (2d) 130937

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