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Storm v. Storm

JANUARY 31, 1973.

DOROTHY J. STORM, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

RICHARD D. STORM, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ROBERT C. BUCKLEY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE ADESKO DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied February 27, 1973.

Defendant, Richard D. Storm, appeals from an order entered on October 22, 1971, finding him guilty of willful contempt of court for failing to pay $3,320 arrearage of support of his children as provided in the divorce decree and from an order of commitment of said date. Plaintiff and defendant were divorced on January 26, 1968, by a decree which provided in part:

"c. That the defendant pay to plaintiff the sum of $60.00 per week for the support and education of the four minor children of the parties * * *."

Plaintiff waived alimony.

On June 8, 1970, an agreed order was entered that "the defendant, Richard D. Storm, is now in arrears in his support payments for the minor children of the parties in the sum of $2,130.00" and defendant was to pay plaintiff $50.00 per month on the arrearage "in addition to regular weekly payments."

On October 1, 1971, plaintiff filed a petition that a rule be entered against defendant requiring him to show cause why he should not be held in contempt. Plaintiff alleged and it is undisputed, that following the June 8, 1970, order "defendant paid to plaintiff only $60.00 per week until October 10, 1970" and then nothing, so the arrearage then amounted to $3,020.00 (50 1/3 weeks times $60.00 a week) for the period of October 10, 1970, to October 1, 1971, plus the arrearage of $2,130 from June 8, 1970, on which defendant paid nothing.

Defendant answered that on June 8, 1970, he "was not represented by counsel, did not understand the law and the said amount includes $15.00 per week" for Barbara Storm, defendant's daughter, who became 18 on December 23, 1968. Defendant petitioned the court to correct the June 8, 1970, order accordingly and alleged he had paid $940.00 from June 8, to November 14, 1970.

The trial court, in an order entered October 22, 1971, found defendant in contempt; denied the "correction" of the June 8 order because that order did not disclose whether the figure includes $15.00 per week since December 22, 1968, the date on which Barbara was 18 years of age; found that Barbara was steadily employed before and after December 22, 1968; suspended child support payments as to Barbara and Richard Storm as of June 8, 1970; ordered defendant to pay $30.00 a week for child support; found $3,320.00 "presently due and owing for all past support payments"; set an appeal bond of $6,600.00; and found "that defendant has made no support payments since November 14, 1970."

The court also signed an "order of Commitment'' on October 22, 1971, which stated:

"After a hearing on a rule to show cause, it is found that Respondent, Richard D. Storm, is guilty of willful contempt for willfully failing and refusing to pay child support to plaintiff Dorothy Storm in the amount of his arrearage in payment due from him of $3,320.00."

The issue on appeal is twofold: (1) Whether the court correctly computed the arrearage at $3,320.00 as of October 22, 1971; and (2) Whether the court properly found defendant in contempt of court.

The court computed the arrearage as of October 22, 1971, at $3,320.00; $2,130.00 as agreed on in the June 8, 1970, order, plus $2,130.00 (arrived at by multiplying 71 weeks by $30.00, the reduced child support payment ordered reduced retroactively on October 22, 1971), minus the $940.00 paid by defendant.

• 1 There is no merit in defendant's contention that the June 8 order should be set aside because defendant was not represented by counsel. There is no such requirement in the law, and ...


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