In re Woodrum

Citation115 N.E.3d 1021,426 Ill.Dec. 99,2018 IL App (3d) 170369
Decision Date20 September 2018
Docket NumberAppeal No. 3-17-0369
Parties IN RE MARRIAGE OF Gregory W. WOODRUM, Petitioner-Appellee and Cross-Appellant, and Jennifer L. Woodrum, Respondent-Appellant and Cross-Appellee.
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois

2018 IL App (3d) 170369
115 N.E.3d 1021
426 Ill.Dec.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF Gregory W. WOODRUM, Petitioner-Appellee and Cross-Appellant,
Jennifer L. Woodrum, Respondent-Appellant and Cross-Appellee.

Appeal No. 3-17-0369

Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District.

Opinion filed September 20, 2018

Emily Sutton, of Lucie, Scalf, Sutton & Bougher, of Macomb, for appellant.

Stanley L. Tucker and Carissa Ann Bryant, of Tucker, Hartzell & Bryant, of Carthage, for appellee.

PRESIDING JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

426 Ill.Dec. 107

¶ 1 Prior to their marriage, petitioner, Gregory W. Woodrum (Greg), and respondent, Jennifer L. Woodrum, executed a prenuptial agreement. After eight years of marriage, Greg filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. During the pendency of the proceedings, the trial court awarded Jennifer temporary maintenance and, subsequently, found the parties' prenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable. On appeal, Jennifer argues (1) the prenuptial agreement was not valid and enforceable and (2) the trial court prematurely entered a judgment without properly addressing "the issue of property." On cross-appeal, Greg argues the trial court erred by awarding temporary maintenance to Jennifer. We affirm.


¶ 3 In 2001, Greg and Jennifer began a relationship, and Jennifer moved into Greg's home shortly thereafter. Each party had been previously divorced twice and each had two children from prior their marriages. When Greg and Jennifer spoke of getting married, the discussions included executing a prenuptial agreement. Prior their marriage, the parties executed an "Agreement Prior to Marriage" (premarital agreement) on June 13, 2007. Greg and Jennifer married on July 29, 2007. Eight years later, on September 16, 2015, Greg filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. Greg was 58 years old and Jennifer was 61 years old at that time. No children were born out of their marriage.

¶ 4 I. Temporary Relief

¶ 5 On November 6, 2015, Jennifer filed a petition for temporary relief for Greg to maintain her health insurance and provide a vehicle and temporary maintenance during the proceedings. In response, Greg argued that the parties' premarital agreement precluded an award of temporary maintenance. He further argued that the premarital agreement could not be circumvented because Jennifer could not prove that she was entitled to maintenance due to an undue hardship that was not reasonably foreseeable at the time of the execution of the premarital agreement, as required to negate the terms of the premarital agreement under section 7(b) of the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (Illinois Premarital Agreement Act). See 750 ILCS 10/7(b) (West 2016) (providing that if a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support that would cause a party "undue hardship in light of circumstances not reasonably foreseeable at the time of the execution of the agreement, a court, notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, may require the other party to provide support

115 N.E.3d 1030
426 Ill.Dec. 108

to the extent necessary to avoid such hardship").

¶ 6 On February 1, 2016, Jennifer amended her petition for temporary relief arguing that the terms of the premarital agreement only precluded maintenance "upon divorce or dissolution of marriage" and, alternatively, even if the premarital agreement precluded temporary maintenance, she should be awarded temporary maintenance pursuant to section 7(b) of the Illinois Premarital Agreement Act because eliminating temporary maintenance would cause her undue hardship in light of the unforeseen circumstance of Greg instructing her to leave his home as a result of her attending religious services as a Jehovah's Witness. Jennifer claimed that an undue hardship would result because her client relationships and book of business related to selling insurance had lapsed with Greg's knowledge and for his benefit of being able to help raise his children and take care of domestic duties.

¶ 7 In response to Jennifer's amended petition, Greg indicated that he earned a substantially higher income than Jennifer because Jennifer was "unemployed by choice." He denied Jennifer's business relationships and book of business had lapsed "for his benefit" and denied that Jennifer had no way to support herself. Greg admitted that the reason he told Jennifer to leave the home was because she was attending religious services at the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall but contended that prior to their marriage Jennifer had told him that she was no longer a Jehovah's Witness. Greg further denied that Jennifer had been out of the workforce for a number years, indicating that she had worked at a grocery store in the summer of 2015 but had turned down an employment offer at a store located in Macomb, Illinois.

¶ 8 In determining whether to grant Jennifer's request for temporary relief, the trial court heard evidence and both parties submitted financial affidavits. Greg's financial affidavit, submitted as of June 16, 2016, showed that his income was $70,241 the previous year, his gross salary was $5720 per month, his monthly interest and dividend income was $222.83, and his monthly partnership income was $638.50. He had a First State bank account (only in his name) with $2000, investments were worth $28,000 (with Edward Jones and AG Edwards), his home was worth $230,000, and he had three vehicles—a 1964 Nova, a 1969 Camaro, and another 1969 Camaro, worth $35,000, $28,000, and $25,000, respectively. He also had a 20% interest in his family's business, Woodrum Automotive, Inc. (Woodrow Automotive), a pension worth $181,000, and an individual retirement account (IRA) (DWS Trust) worth $3000. Greg had transferred or sold his interest in, or the assets or property of, Wayne Woodrum, Inc., on March 3, 2014, for $350,868.

¶ 9 There was no court reporter during the proceedings, but the trial court subsequently certified a bystander's report submitted by Greg. According to the bystander's report, Jennifer testified that she was selling insurance when she moved in with Greg in 2001. Jennifer was still selling insurance at the time of the parties' marriage in 2007, but Jennifer had been decreasing her workload over time. Jennifer never specifically told Greg that she was going to quit selling insurance. Jennifer moved out of Greg's home in 2015, and in early 2016 she had begun working part-time at a grocery store but quit after a few months and had not looked for another job. Jennifer acknowledged that she had negotiated marital settlement agreements in both of her prior divorces. Jennifer also acknowledged that she entered into the prenuptial agreement with Greg but testified

426 Ill.Dec. 109
115 N.E.3d 1031

that she was not aware that C. Don Weston was her attorney at the time.

¶ 10 Weston testified that Jennifer had consulted with him regarding the impact and consequences of her premarital agreement with Greg. Weston's normal practice and custom was to review everything in the agreement with his client. Weston spent 1.5 hours over the course of two meetings with Jennifer regarding the prenuptial agreement. It was Weston's opinion that under the agreement the parties had waived maintenance under all circumstances, including temporary maintenance. Weston believed that Jennifer understood the contents of the prenuptial agreement.

¶ 11 Greg testified that when he and Jennifer had married in 2007, his two children were 20 and 23 years old and were out of the home. While Jennifer's work dwindled over time, Greg had never told Jennifer to quit her job. Executing a premarital agreement was something that Jennifer and Greg discussed from the beginning of their relationship in 2001.

¶ 12 The trial court granted Jennifer's request for temporary relief, finding that under the premarital agreement the parties had only waived maintenance "upon dissolution"—not upon the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. Jennifer was awarded $1137 per month in temporary maintenance.

¶ 13 II. Validity of the Prenuptial Agreement

¶ 14 On November 23, 2016, a hearing began regarding the validity of the parties' prenuptial agreement. The following evidence was presented.

¶ 15 A. Prenuptial Agreement

¶ 16 The prenuptial agreement indicated, in pertinent part, as follows:


WHEREAS, the Parties have exchanged promises to marry and intend to solemnize the same in the near future; and

WHEREAS, each of the parties individually holds certain property, and owes certain debts, the nature, extent, and estimated value of which has been fully disclosed to the other party (as set forth in the attached schedules); and,

WHEREAS, the Parties desire and intend to define their respective rights in the property of the other, both during the marriage relationship and after its termination, and to avoid such interests which, except for the operation of this Agreement, each might acquire in the property of the other as incidents of their marriage relationship; and,

WHEREAS, each Party desires that his or her respective property, both real and personal, shall pass to his or her designated

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4 cases
  • People v. Jose A. (In re Jose A.)
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • October 18, 2018
    ...with citation of the authorities and the pages of the record relied on"); In re Marriage of Woodrum , 2018 IL App (3d) 170369, ¶ 63, 426 Ill.Dec. 99, 115 N.E.3d 1021 (noting that failure to develop an argument and provide any authority in support of a contention results in forfeiture of the......
  • In re Solecki
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • August 13, 2020
    ...which is the language of the contract, given its plain and ordinary meaning. In re Marriage of Woodrum , 2018 IL App (3d) 170369, ¶ 108, 426 Ill.Dec. 99, 115 N.E.3d 1021.¶ 52 Likewise, the goal of statutory construction is to ascertain and effectuate the intent of the legislature. 1010 Lake......
  • Solano v. Solano (In re Marriage of Solano)
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 8, 2019
    ......Chicago Park District , 2017 IL 121800, ¶ 17, 422 Ill.Dec. 869, 104 N.E.3d 436. ¶ 47 We have found no Illinois decision that expressly analyzes the issue of statutory 124 N.E.3d 1109 429 Ill.Dec. 599 interpretation raised here. We granted petitioner's motion to cite In re Marriage of Woodrum , 2018 IL App (3d) 170369, 426 Ill.Dec. 99, 115 N.E.3d 1021. In Woodrum , the respondent challenged the parties' premarital agreement on the ground that she did not receive a fair and reasonable disclosure of the petitioner's assets. The appellate court noted that, "[u]nder the [Act], the only ......
  • O'Neil v. Ill. Workers' Comp. Comm'n
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 4, 2020
    ...raised in the reply brief, in oral argument, or on petition for rehearing"); In re Marriage of Woodrum , 2018 IL App (3d) 170369, ¶ 63, 426 Ill.Dec. 99, 115 N.E.3d 1021 (noting that the failure to develop an argument and provide any authority in support of a contention results in forfeiture......
1 books & journal articles
  • Review of the Year 2018-2019 in Family Law: Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Issues Abound
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Family Law Quarterly No. 53-4, January 2020
    • January 1, 2020
    ...two years of purchase. As a remedy, the trial court ordered the remaining assets paid to the children. 40 34. In re Marriage of Woodrum, 115 N.E.3d 1021 (Ill. App. Ct. 2018). 35. Dejak v. Dejak, 141 N.E.3d 522 (Ohio App. Ct. 2019). 36. Larsen v. Giannakoulias, 2018 WL 5310168 (Tenn. Ct. App......

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