IN THE APPELLATE COURT
In Re: the Marriage of ) Appeal from
LOIS AILEEN SCHWEITZER, ) Circuit Court of
Petitioner-Appellee, ) Champaign County
and ) No. 89C1269
HARVEY JOHN SCHWEITZER, )
Respondent-Appellant. ) Honorable
) Harold L. Jensen,
) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
Petitioner Lois Schweitzer and respondent Harvey
Schweitzer were married in 1947. Their marriage was dissolved in
the circuit court of Champaign County in June 1990. The parties
entered into a marital settlement agreement (Agreement), which was
incorporated into the judgment of dissolution, in which respondent
agreed to pay maintenance to petitioner. The maintenance provi-
sion, designated as article II of the Agreement, states:
"1. Husband shall pay direct to Wife, as
and for her support and maintenance, the sum
of $1,500 per month, effective July 1, 1990,
and continuing thereafter on the first day of
2. The payment [of] maintenance shall
not terminate upon the occurrence of any of
the statutory events for the termination of
maintenance, except for the death of either
3. All of the payments to be made by
Husband to Wife pursuant to this Article will
be payments in discharge of a legal obligation
which, because of the marital or family rela-
tionship, is imposed on or incurred by Husband
under a written instrument incident to a
dissolution of marriage, all within the mean-
ing and intendment of Sections 71(a) and 215
of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as
amended and as now in effect, and of similar
provisions of future laws, and that such
payments will be includible in Wife's gross
income pursuant to Section 71(a) and will be
deductible by Husband from his gross income
pursuant to Section 215 in determining their
respective taxable incomes."
Article XV, paragraph 8, of the Agreement provided that
"[t]his Marital Settlement Agreement shall not be modifiable." On
March 29, 1996, respondent filed a petition to modify the judgment,
in which he alleged that a material change in circumstances had
occurred and asked that his maintenance obligation be reduced. In
support of this request, he alleged that a farm he owned would no
longer be involved in the raising and selling of hogs, which would
result in an approximate $20,000 reduction in his income per year.
He also alleged that he believed petitioner was about to sell
certain properties that would provide her with additional income.
In her response to this petition, petitioner alleged that pursuant
to article XV, paragraph 8, of the Agreement, the maintenance
provision could not be modified.
After hearing arguments of counsel, the trial court ruled
that respondent's maintenance payments were not modifiable and
dismissed the petition. Respondent now appeals, arguing that the
trial court's order was in error. We disagree and affirm.
Section 502 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of
Marriage Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par. 502) governs
marital settlement agreements. Section 502(f) of the Act provides
"Except for terms concerning the support,
custody or visitation of children, the judg-
ment may expressly preclude or limit modifica-
tion of terms set forth in the judgment if the
agreement so provides. Otherwise, terms of an
agreement set forth in the judgment are auto-
matically modified by modification of the
judgment." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par.
Section 510(a) of the Act states in pertinent part:
"Except as otherwise provided in para-
graph (f) of Section 502, *** the provisions
of any judgment respecting maintenance or
support may be modified only as to install-
ments accruing subsequent to due notice by the
moving party of the filing of the motion for
modification and only upon a showing of a
substantial change in circumstances." Ill.
Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 40, par. 510(a).
Section 510(c) of the Act states that unless otherwise
agreed by the parties in a written agreement, the obligation to pay
future maintenance is terminated by the death of either party, the
remarriage of the obligee, or if the obligee cohabits with another
person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis. Ill. Rev. Stat.
1989, ch. 40, par. 510(c).
It is clear that parties may agree that maintenance shall
not be modified or terminated except upon certain specified
conditions. When the parties so agree, maintenance may be modified
or terminated only under the circumstances specified in the
agreement. The purpose of allowing parties to agree in advance to
the circumstances under which maintenance may be modified or
terminated is to permit them to plan for the future by eliminating
concerns based upon subsequent motions to increase or decrease
their obligations. See In re Marriage of Brent, 263 Ill. App. 3d
916, 922, 635 N.E.2d 1382, 1386 (1994). The intent of the parties
to preclude or limit modification of maintenance must be clearly
manifested in their agreement. In re Marriage of Scott, 205 Ill.
App. 3d 561, 564, 563 N.E.2d 995, 997 (1990).
In In re Marriage of Mateja, 183 Ill. App. 3d 759, 540
N.E.2d 406 (1989), the parties had entered into a marital settle-
ment agreement providing that the husband would pay the wife
unallocated child support and maintenance until the parties' child
reached 18 years of age, at which time the husband would continue
to pay a reduced amount in maintenance until the wife remarried.
The agreement also stated that the wife was permitted to earn up to
a certain annual income without adversely affecting the amount of
maintenance due her. The agreement provided that "[t]he parties
further agree that the terms of the Agreement shall be non-modifi-
able." Mateja, 183 Ill. App. 3d at 761, 540 N.E.2d at 407.
Several years later, the husband filed a petition to terminate
maintenance. The trial court denied the petition, finding that the
parties intended the agreement to be nonmodifiable unless the wife
earned in excess of the stipulated annual income, remarried, or
died. The appellate court affirmed, noting that where the
dissolution judgment expressly precludes, by clear and precise
language, any modification, the trial court must give effect to the
parties' expression of their intentions. The court found the
language used by the parties was simple and clear and that the
husband's petition was properly denied. Mateja, 183 Ill. App. 3d
at 762, 540 N.E.2d at 407-08.
Respondent argues here that had the parties intended to
preclude modification of maintenance, they would have included such
a provision in article II of the Agreement, the section dealing
with maintenance. He reasons that because only provisions
restricting termination of maintenance are contained in that
article, there was no intention to preclude modification. We
reject this argument. Taken to its logical conclusion, respon-
dent's argument would mean that in order to preclude modification
of all provisions of the Agreement, it would be necessary for the
parties to expressly state in each article of the Agreement that
the particular provision was nonmodifiable. Such a requirement
would be superfluous. In article XV, the parties have clearly
stated that the entire Agreement is nonmodifiable. There is no
ambiguity in this language, and we find it sufficient to express
the parties' intention that the maintenance provisions of the
Agreement are not to be modified. Moreover, as petitioner points
out, this court stated in Scott that if parties wish to preclude
modification of maintenance, the better practice would be to
provide for this in clear and express language in a paragraph
separate from any provisions limiting the termination of mainte-
nance, since provisions for termination of maintenance in an
agreement do not preclude its modification. Scott, 205 Ill. App.
3d at 566, 563 N.E.2d at 999.
Respondent also argues the provision in article XV
stating that the Agreement is not modifiable is merely "a general
statement of the law that property and other provisions, other than
support, maintenance and custody, are non-modifiable." However,
this is a misstatement of the law. Section 502(f) of the Act
allows parties to preclude modification of the terms of the
judgment except provisions for the support, custody, or visitation
of children. Clearly, parties may preclude modification of
We conclude that the Agreement precludes modification of
respondent's maintenance payments. Accordingly, the trial court
did not err in dismissing respondent's petition.
For the reasons stated, the trial court's order is
STEIGMANN, P.J., and GREEN, J., concur.