Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, County
Department, Chancery-Divorce Division; the Hon. IRVING LANDESMAN,
Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded with directions.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DEMPSEY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Rehearing denied February 4, 1965.
This appeal is from an order entered by the Circuit Court of Cook County following the registration of a divorce decree under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, Ill. Rev Stats 1963, c 77, § 88, et seq. The defendant-appellant contends that the decree was not a foreign judgment under the terms of the Uniform Act and that the court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order.
In 1961 the plaintiff, Rose Jackson, obtained a divorce in the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Illinois. This court subsequently entered two orders modifying the decree by suspending the alimony and reducing the child support payments. Some time thereafter, the parties moved to Cook County which resulted in the filing of the action now before us.
In 1963 the plaintiff filed a petition to register the decree in Cook County under the provisions of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, attaching thereto a copy of the decree and of the subsequent orders modifying the decree. Her complaint alleged that the defendant was $1,730 in arrears in alimony and support payments. A garnishment action for the arrearage was instituted against the defendant and later a petition for a rule to show cause was filed against him. Thereafter he was granted leave to change attorneys and his new counsel filed a motion to dismiss the action on the ground that the decree, being one of an Illinois court, was not a foreign judgment as defined by the Uniform Act and that the court was without jurisdiction to enforce the decree. The court denied the motion, ordered the resumption of alimony, increased the amount of child support, fixed the visitation hours of the defendant, assessed his arrearage at $400.48 and ordered him to pay this amount and $300 in attorney fees within thirty days. The defendant elected to stand upon his motion and brings this appeal.
The Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act was approved by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1948, and was adopted in Illinois with certain modifications to conform to our state's civil procedure in 1951. The Act provides statutory procedure whereby the holder of a foreign judgment may file a petition to register it, alleging the date and place of its entry together with a copy of the judgment and a record of all subsequent proceedings and events which might have some effect upon it. Registration allows an immediate levy on property as well as other relief set out in the Act.
We think it is clear that the Uniform Act was intended to facilitate interstate enforcement of judgments and was not designed for the enforcement of intrastate judgments. This intention can be gathered from the terms of the Act itself, from the introductory comments made by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and from decisions which have construed other provisions of the Act.
The aim of statutory construction is to ascertain the legislative intent by examining not only the language employed but the evil to be remedied and the objective sought to be accomplished. Board of Education of School Dist. No. 148, Cook County v. County of Cook, 42 Ill. App.2d 91, 191 N.E.2d 444; People v. Gill, 30 Ill. App.2d 32, 173 N.E.2d 568. The evil to be remedied and the objective to be accomplished by the Uniform Act were set out by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in a prefatory note:
"The mobility, today, of both persons and property is such that existing procedure for the enforcement of judgments in those cases where the judgment debtor has removed himself and his property from the state in which the judgment was rendered, is inadequate. By this act procedure is made available under which the judgment creditor can effectively obtain relief and at the same time adequate protection is given the judgment debtor to present any defense that can now be interposed to an action on such judgment."
The Historical and Practice Note appended to S.H.A., c 77, § 88, also demonstrates that what is contemplated by the Act is the enforcement in our state of the judgments of other states:
"The Act is designed to enable a judgment creditor under a foreign judgment to obtain an immediate levy on property of the judgment debtor in this State pending disposition of summary proceedings under the Act by the judgment creditor to convert the foreign judgment into a domestic or Illinois judgment."
In Light v. Light, 12 Ill.2d 502, 147 N.E.2d 34, the court had occasion to interpret and apply the Uniform Act. The court had no doubt that the purpose of the Act concerned out-of-state judgments, as can be seen from this comment:
"The Uniform Act . . . is intended to make it easier to enforce judgments across State lines. To that end it establishes a procedure for registering the foreign judgment in an appropriate court in this State. . . ."
The scope which the Illinois legislature intended the Act to have is shown by the title of the Act and by the definitions given to terms and words ...