APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon.
WILBUR S. JOHNSON, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE BARRY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiff, Nicholas J. Chirekos, sued for divorce from his wife, Pauline T. Chirekos, in the Circuit Court of Rock Island County, Illinois. In both his original and supplemental complaints he asked the court for an adjustment of the equities between the parties in regard to property held in their individual and joint names. Although the defendant counterclaimed for a divorce, a decree of divorce was entered in favor of the plaintiff. The court held a hearing on the questions of alimony, property rights, custody, visitation, attorneys' fees and costs. Pursuant to stipulation, plaintiff's Exhibit No. 4, a statement of the property holdings of plaintiff was admitted into evidence. Paragraph 9 of that exhibit set out the real estate holdings of the parties which were held in joint tenancy and located in Arizona. On October 17, 1973, the circuit court entered an order dealing with the Arizona joint tenancy property. In essence that order imposed equitable liens in favor of plaintiff on the Arizona property held in joint tenancy by the parties for the amounts plaintiff had paid or become personally obliged to pay for the purchase of the property. Defendant then filed a post-trial motion which sought to strike the equitable liens in favor of plaintiff. Defendant alleged that because the property was situated in Arizona: one, Arizona law should be applied; two, Arizona law would not permit the imposition of the equitable liens in this case; three, title to the properties and the imposition of liens against Arizona property is a subject peculiarly within the jurisdiction of Arizona courts and beyond the jurisdictional power of the Illinois courts. The circuit court denied defendant's post-trial motion and from that denial she appeals.
The defendant raises one general issue for review. She contends it was error for the circuit court to grant plaintiff equitable liens on real property jointly held by the parties to this divorce action and located in Arizona. Specifically defendant argues that the trial court had no jurisdiction to impose the equitable liens on the Arizona property. The precedent that Illinois courts are without jurisdiction to directly affect title to real property located in a sister State is self-evident and an established conflicts of law rule. However, such a rule is not applicable to the instant case.
The order of the trial court decreeing the equitable liens on Arizona property provides in paragraphs 7 through 9:
"7. That the Plaintiff shall be given an equitable lien for $24,000.00 plus the bank interest charged thereon at the rate of 7 1/2% per annum from June 30, 1970, on the following described premises:
Lot 1217 of the Tucson National Estates West, a Subdivision of Pima County, Arizona, according to the Map or Plat thereof, of record in the Office of the County Recorder of Pima County, Arizona, in Book 20 of Maps and Plats at Page 20 thereof.
8. The Plaintiff be and is hereby given an equitable lien in the amount of $106,610.04 against the parties' interest in the following described premises and against any and all beneficial interests they may now or hereafter have, hold or be entitled to in Trust No. 6966-T, Lawyers Title of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, its successors or assigns, the record title holder under said Trust:
Lots 541 to 618, both inclusive, as CASAS ADOBES ESTATES, Pima County, Arizona, according to the plat thereof, of record in the Office of the County Recorder of Pima County, Arizona, in Book 17 of Maps and Plats at page 77.
Lots 619 to 649, both inclusive, of CASAS ADOBES ESTATES, Pima County, Arizona, according to the plat thereof, of record in the Office of the County Recorder of Pima County, Arizona, in Book 17 of Maps and Plats at page 96;
which lien is granted for the amount of payments and obligations incurred by the plaintiff for or on the purchase of said premises.
Further, the parties hereto shall respectively be given equitable liens in amounts equal to any payments hereafter individually made by them with respect to payments for or on said above described premises, and for interest on money heretofore borrowed, used to make payments to date.
9. The Plaintiff be and is hereby given an equitable lien in the amount of $44,341.98 against the parties' interest in the following described premises and against any and all beneficial interests they may now or hereafter have, hold or be entitled to in Trust No. 6965-T, Lawyers Title of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, its successors or assigns, the record title holder under said Trust:
Lots 3 and 4 and the Northeast Quarter of the Southwest Quarter of Section 33, Township 12 South of Range 13 East, Gila and Salt River Base and Meridian, Pima County, Arizona; EXCEPT the South 360 feet of Lot 4; AND ...