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Robin v. Robin

OPINION FILED JANUARY 13, 1977.

PHYLLIS ROBIN, A/K/A PHYLLIS EISENBERG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

STEPHEN H. ROBIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DAVID LINN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant appeals from an order in a post-divorce proceeding which increased his child support payments from $45 per week to $1,000 per month, created a $13,715 deficiency in child support, required defendant to purchase a $50,000 life insurance policy for his child's benefit, and awarded a guardian ad litem $5,000 in fees and plaintiff's attorney $2,500 in fees.

He contends that (1) the trial court abused its discretion by increasing child support, by creating a deficiency, by requiring security, by appointing a guardian ad litem and by awarding fees to the guardian and to plaintiff's attorney, and (2) the appointment of a guardian ad litem violates article VI, section 14 of the Illinois Constitution.

On February 11, 1974, plaintiff filed a petition to modify her divorce judgment. She alleged that the parties were divorced by a judgment entered on May 6, 1968, which provided that she would have custody of Bonnie Ileen, a child of the parties, that defendant, based upon his 1967 wage and tax statement issued by Harbor Management Company, would pay $45 per week until Bonnie reached majority and that no insurance benefits for Bonnie were included in the judgment. She represented that defendant's income had increased and that a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties had occurred.

Defendant's answer and cross-petition alleged, inter alia, that plaintiff and her new spouse were threatening his life, hindering his visitation rights, and frustrating his attempts to foster a father-daughter relationship.

On April 25, 1974, the following pertinent evidence was adduced at a hearing on the petition.

For plaintiff:

Defendant under section 60

His adjusted gross income in 1973 was $114,000 and was approximately $70,000 after taxes. He owned a 10% interest in Carlton House nursing home, Princeton House and Harvard House. He owned a 50% interest in the Harbor Mortgage Company which had a total net worth of $100,000. His estimated worth was between $200,000 and $500,000. He gave Bonnie a one- or two-percent interest worth approximately $4,000 to $5,000 in some Arizona ranch property. He did not own an insurance policy of which Bonnie was a beneficiary.

Plaintiff

She married Sol Eisenberg in May, 1970. They reside in a condominium worth $90,000 to $95,000 at 1212 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago with their one-year-old daughter and Bonnie. She and Sol had purchased a home in Northbrook for $101,000 which they planned to move into in August, 1974. She is not employed and has no source of income. Sol is her sole source of support. She owns some jewelry and has a $1,000 savings account. She pays Bonnie's ordinary medical expenses.

Bonnie was attending a public school. She had attended a day camp last summer which cost $385 for the summer and would attend an overnight camp the following year which cost $1,000. Although she had taken swimming, ice skating, drama and art lessons in the past, she was currently taking only piano lessons at the cost of $10 per week. She sees a doctor approximately once a month and wears corrective shoes.

At the conclusion of plaintiff's testimony, the trial court indicated it would appoint a guardian ad litem to act on Bonnie's behalf. Defendant objected to the appointment on the grounds that both parents were concerned about Bonnie and were providing for her best interest, and that no evidence of any problem had been adduced which required the services of a third party. The court agreed to take the appointment under advisement.

On September 11, 1974, plaintiff's counsel represented that plaintiff was asking for $115.38 per week in child support. Over defendant's protest, the court appointed attorney Ellis ...


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