In re Marriage of Stuhr, 2016 IL App (1st) 152370, June 24, 2016, Cook Co. This case went to the appellate court after the parties were divorced.  Husband appealed the trial court’s decision about what is non-marital property.  He also appealed the division of assets between the parties.  Lastly, he appealed the award of temporary maintenance to Wife.

WHAT IF YOU OWNED CERTAIN ACCOUNTS FROM BEFORE THE MARRIAGE?

The Husband said he had owned certain accounts before the marriage.  The Trial court did not agree with Husband, and instead said the six accounts were not non-marital property and should be split between the parties.  The Court found that all six accounts were opened during the marriage. The Court did not agree with his testimony about the accounts being his alone.

SHOULD YOU BE REIMBURSED FOR HALF OF THE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS?

Husband said he should be reimbursed for funds that he spent on the marital residence after Wife moved out. He says he made the payments from a non-marital source. The trial court denied Husband’s request. The Court noted that Husband alone had been residing in the residence since Wife left it in February 2010.  Also, the parties agreed that he would be awarded the marital residence in the divorce.

ARE CHARITABLE AND RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES DISSIPATION?

Dissipation argument on appeal: Husband next argues that the trial court should have decided that Wife’s costs for Sufism was dissipation. “Dissipation occurs when one spouse uses a marital asset for his or her sole benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.”

The trial court had denied Husband’s request for a finding of dissipation as to Wife’s contributions to the Sufi religion.  The Court said that, ‘first, prior to the breakdown of the parties’ marriage, the parties made donations to the Sufi religion.  Therefore, Wife’s was merely still doing what she had always been doing. Also, the Court said it was not dissipation for Wife to support religious and charitable activities  that she finds to be appropriate.’

MAINTENANCE SHOULD BE BASED ON ACTUAL NEEDS

Husband argues that the trial court was wrong in awarding Wife maintenance. Also, Husband argues that the maintenance award of $8600 per month was too high. He said that if Wife was entitled to receive maintenance, it ‘should have been based on her actual needs for a limited period of time.’

“Under the Act, a spouse requesting maintenance has ‘a duty to look for and accept appropriate employment.’ Where a spouse has the means of earning more income, he or she may not use self-imposed poverty as a basis for claiming maintenance.