Bruce and Linda were married. Bruce purchased two life insurance policies and an annuity from New York Life, and the Equitable Annuity. At the time Bruce purchased the policies, the beneficiaries of the policies were Linda and their children.

Later, Linda filed a dissolution action against Bruce. By agreement of both Bruce and Linda, the court entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting Bruce from “transferring, encumbering, concealing, damaging or otherwise disposing of the property of Linda Muslin or any other property of the parties.”

The dissolution action was inadvertently dismissed for want of prosecution. It was reinstated.

Linda had never prosecuted her petition for dissolution of marriage to a final judgment. While the injunction was still in effect, Bruce submitted a change of beneficiary forms to New York Life and Equitable of Iowa. He intended to remove Linda and their children as beneficiaries of the policies and replace them with Sogol, his girlfriend.

This occurred only two months prior to his death. Sogol thereafter submitted claims to New York Life and Equitable of Iowa for the proceeds of the policies. Linda was unaware that Bruce had changed the beneficiaries until after his death.

Sogol filed a Motion to Dismiss. The court dismissed Linda’s counterclaim without stating any basis for the ruling. The court granted Linda’s motion for stay pending appeal. Linda appealed the dismissal of her claim.

Linda argues that the trial court erred as a matter of law when it failed to award the proceeds of the life insurance policies and annuity to her due to Bruce’s violation of the terms of the preliminary injunction. Sogol responds that the preliminary injunction did not survive the dismissal of the dissolution action, was not revived in the reinstatement order, and, at any rate, did not survive the death of Bruce. Sogol argues that once Bruce died, the divorce action, including the preliminary injunction, abated as if it never existed.

“(d) A temporary order entered under this Section

(3) terminates when the final judgment is entered or when the petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation or declaration of invalidity of marriage is dismissed.” 750 ILCS 5/501(d)(3).

Thus, by the terms of the Act, the preliminary injunction did not terminate until Bruce’s death. Until his death, Bruce did not have the power or the authority to change the beneficiary of the policies because the preliminary injunction was still in effect. While his death did indeed abate the dissolution of marriage action, it did not abate the preliminary injunction.

New York Life Ins. Co. v. Sogol, 311 Ill.App.3d 156

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