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Former Husband Loses Appeal in Spousal Maintenance Case

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

Former Husband Loses Appeal in Spousal Maintenance CaseAn Illinois appellate court recently denied a man’s petition to vacate an agreement that obligated him to pay $500,000 in spousal maintenance to his former wife. The man claims he signed the agreement under fraudulent circumstances because his former wife concealed significant financial assets. Previously, an Illinois trial court determined that the man’s claim had no standing and ordered him to pay the remainder of the maintenance agreement, as well as his former wife’s attorney fees.

Case Background

In 2006, the woman filed a petition of indirect civil contempt against the man for failing to comply with the spousal maintenance payments that they agreed to in their 2001 divorce. The woman claimed that the man was not remitting parts of his income that came from his social security benefits and various trusts. In 2009, the man agreed to pay the woman $500,000, which included paying $350,000 immediately and the remaining $150,000 by December 1, 2013. The man made the initial payment but later disputed the agreement and refused to pay the final $150,000. The man filed a petition to vacate the agreement shortly after the deadline passed for him to make the final payment. He claimed that the agreement is fraudulent because the woman failed to disclose during the negotiations that she had a bank account containing $500,000. The woman responded that the money was a loan from her son and the man was aware of the loan. The trial court sided with the woman in June 2016, leading to the appeal.


A party can vacate a signed agreement if it can prove that it discovered new evidence that it had no way of knowing and would have changed its decision on the agreement. The appellate court found the man’s claim unconvincing for several reasons:

  • The man issued a subpoena to see the woman’s bank records during the negotiations. The $500,000 was in an account in that same bank. Thus, the man could have discovered the money, and his failure to do so was due to his own negligence.
  • A claim to vacate an agreement must be made within two years of its creation, unless one of the parties fraudulently concealed information. There is no proof that the woman hid or misrepresented her assets.
  • The man contradicted himself during testimony, saying that he probably saw records of the $500,000.

Financial Disclosure

A marital or divorce agreement may be ruled invalid if your spouse fraudulently withheld vital information from you. However, you may be stuck with a bad deal if your own negligence caused you to overlook information that was otherwise obtainable. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can make sure that you have all the necessary information before signing a divorce agreement. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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