APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon.
CHARLES J. SMITH, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE STOUDER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal from a decree of the circuit court of Rock Island County which denied the petition of plaintiff, Jan Temple, requesting a modification of the custodial provision of a divorce decree.
On June 18, 1974, a decree of divorce was awarded in favor of plaintiff, Jan Temple, against the defendant, Wesley Temple. The original decree gave custody of the two minor children to Jan Temple.
The minor child Justin is presently 3 years of age and is the natural child of both the plaintiff and the defendant. The minor child Jason is presently 7 years of age and is the natural child of the plaintiff only, but was adopted by the defendant during the marriage of the parties.
In anticipation of her marriage to an executive of Deere & Company who was scheduled to be transferred to Venezuela, the plaintiff filed her petition in August 1976 seeking a modification of the custodial provision of the decree to permit her to take the children with her to Venezuela. The defendant filed a counterpetition requesting that he be awarded custody of the children. A preliminary order was entered prohibiting the plaintiff from removing either of the children from the State of Illinois during the pendency of the modification proceedings. Hearing was had on both petitions with each party presenting evidence of his or her own merits and the demerits of the other.
On October 1, 1976, the court rendered a decree modifying in some respects the custodial provision of the original decree. In its order the trial court found that both parents now are fit and proper parents. The decree permitted the plaintiff to take Jason, the older child, with her when she went to Venezuela with reasonable visitation allowed to the father during the summer. As to Justin, the younger child, the trial court held that the custody of Justin should be changed to the father during the period of time the mother resides outside of the continental United States. The trial court by its order did not transfer the custody of the 3-year-old, Justin, to the defendant-father unless the petitioner-mother moved to Venezuela. Whenever the plaintiff was to be in Venezuela with her husband, then the custody of the youngest child, Justin, was changed to his father for 6 months at a time, with visitation of 3 months allowed to the mother after each successive 6-month period. Plaintiff and defendant were to share the transportation expenses, estimated at about $1,500 or more a trip. When defendant had custody of the children, the grandparents were to have liberal visitation privileges. Also on October 1, 1976, the court denied plaintiff's motion for the allowance of attorney fees.
The plaintiff has appealed from both orders entered on October 1, 1976, arguing the court erred in refusing to permit her to continue with custody of Justin while in Venezuela and in disallowing her petition for attorney fees.
The defendant filed his notice of cross-appeal from the order of October 1, 1976, complaining the court erred in holding the plaintiff was a fit and proper custodian for the children, in requiring the parties to share the expenses of transportation, and in permitting liberal visitation by grandparents.
The plaintiff went to Venezuela in October 1976, taking Jason with her, but leaving Justin with the defendant. When plaintiff came back from Venezuela in December 1976, defendant refused to return Jason. Each party proceeded to file contempt petitions against the other. The gist of the defendant's petition was that the order entered prior to October 1, 1976, restraining plaintiff from taking either of the children with her to Venezuela, was violated. The court denied both contempt petitions, but ordered the defendant to return Justin to his mother and the defendant has also appealed from this order.
• 1 As indicated earlier, the trial court in its order of October 1, 1976, found that each parent was a fit and proper custodian for the minor children. In his cross-appeal the defendant argues this finding is erroneous because to the extent it finds the plaintiff fit, such holding is contrary to the evidence. We find no merit to this contention.
We believe no useful purpose would be served in detailing the evidence presented during four days of hearings. The defendant himself aptly sums up the evidence when he observes:
"From the testimony of plaintiff, her relatives, friends and co-employees plaintiff is a good mother, who supervises, feeds and clothes her children properly. The defendant, on the other hand, is a beer-drinking, physically abusive, foul-mouthed father.
From the defendant's witnesses who were friends of his, relatives, co-employees and friends of the plaintiff, the defendant is a devoted, conscientious, concerned and dutiful father. The plaintiff, on the other hand, is a tavern-hopping, immoral, disorganized, neglectful and foul mouthed mother who ...