APPEAL from the Superior Court of Cook County; the Hon. DONALD
S. McKINLAY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE BRISTOW DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Frank J. Haderaski, appellant, seeks here a review of the decree entered in the superior court of Cook County, wherein his marital status and property rights were adjudged contrary to his contention. A freehold being involved, this court must assume jurisdiction. We will refer to the plaintiff, Marie Haderaski, as appellee, and to the defendant, Frank J. Haderaski, as appellant.
Appellee filed her complaint for divorce against appellant on June 15, 1951, charging drunkenness and alleging that one child, eight years of age, was born to the union; that appellee and her two daughters by a previous marriage had been gainfully employed for several years and that the proceeds from such employment, in the main, went into the hands of the appellee; that on September 6, 1944, the appellee and appellant purchased a lot and frame shack located on Fox Lake in McHenry County; that it was principally her money that was used as a purchase price and for extensive improvements made on the property; and that the title to this real estate was placed in the names of the parties as joint tenants. In the complaint appellee sought a divorce, child support and the title to the Fox Lake summer home.
The appellant, answering, denies that he and appellee were lawfully joined in marriage on October 9, 1940, or that he was married to her at any other time; and that "as a result of said marriage there was born to the parties hereto a child, named Diane, now the age of 8, or that there was any other child or children born to the parties hereto as a result of a marriage between them." And he further denies that it was appellee's money used to purchase the real estate involved.
Appellant also filed a cross complaint, alleging that on October 9, 1939, the appellee had a husband living from whom she was not divorced; that all real estate in the name of appellee and appellant is equitably his and should be so decreed.
Pursuant to an order of court, on August 1, 1951, appellee filed an amendment to her complaint, alleging that she and appellant were lawfully married on February 13, 1944, in St. Lucy's Catholic Church at Chicago. This was denied by appellant in his answer thereto.
Trial was first had before the chancellor, without a jury, to determine the validity of the church marriage. Appellant contended in the court below and here that the ceremony in the church was not a marriage, but was a blessing of marriage. This contention was completely contradicted by a document known as a church questionaire, plaintiff's exhibit No. 1, which appellant admitted signing and which reads as follows:
"Q. 18. Are you entering this marriage freely and of your own accord?
Q. Are you being compelled by any person, circumstance, etc.?
Q. Is your intended wife marrying you freely and under her own accord?
Q. Is she being compelled by any person, ...