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In Re Nelsen

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 12, 1977.

IN RE TIMOTHY NELSEN, A MINOR. — (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

TIMOTHY NELSEN, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. WILLIAM E. BLACK, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied December 9, 1977.

On October 22, 1973, a petition was filed by the State's Attorney of Du Page County alleging the 15-year-old minor herein was a minor in need of supervision beyond the control of his parents. Both natural parents were served and a dispositional hearing was held on November 5, 1973.

At the time of that hearing both the mother and the father as well as the stepfather were present in the court and concurred in the finding of the court that the minor was in need of supervision. It is obvious from the subsequent record of placement that considerable difficulty was encountered in the supervision of this minor. While a copy of the order declaring the minor to be a ward in need of supervision is not in the file, it is presumed that such an order was in fact entered. During the following months the court placed the minor with the mother; the father; in a foster home; back with the mother and finally, on June 4, 1975, in the Sunny Ridge juvenile home.

The parents of the minor herein were divorced in 1965 and the custody of the minor, together with the two other minor children of the parties, was awarded to the mother. In the divorce decree the father was ordered to pay the sum of $65 per week for the support of his three minor children. From the record it would appear that the natural father has, in fact, consistently made those payments. The mother and father have both remarried.

The question presented in this case is whether the trial court had the authority to order the father to reimburse the County of Du Page in the sum of $2,044 for the care and support of the minor where the father was not previously notified of these expenditures.

• 1 On July 19, 1974, upon notice to both natural parents, a hearing was held relative to support of the minor and on July 26, 1974, the trial court entered the following order:

"IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Resp. Natl Father is ordered to reimburse the County of Du Page for expenses incurred in the care of the R M totaling $191.00 at the rate of $25.00 per month beginning 8-1-74 until full payment is made."

Pursuant to this order the father paid the sum of $191. The State contends, indirectly, that this was a continuing order for reimbursement and has stated that:

"* * * appellant did actually reimburse the County of Du Page up to $191 and then ceased reimbursement."

It is obvious from the face of this order that it was not a continuing order. The order pertained only to the payment of $191 at the rate of $25 a month until full payment was made. No further order relative to continuing reimbursement by the natural father for the support of the minor was entered.

On July 10, 1975, the State's Attorney filed a petition for reimbursement from the father in the sum of $670. At this juncture the attorney for the father filed a special and limited appearance. The matter was continued from time to time and while the record is incomplete as to the details, it would appear that a hearing was finally held on February 2, 1976, as to the father's responsibility for reimbursement. It is to be inferred that subsequent to the filing of the petition for reimbursement in the sum of $670, additional expenditures were incurred by the county for the minor's support and maintenance. While the brief of the county indicates that the County of Du Page made payments for the support of the minor exceeding $3,000, the record does not reveal proofs of those payments. The trial court entered an order that the father pay $50 a month on a compromise sum of $2,044. The father has appealed from the entry of this order.

• 2 The father contends that the Family Expense Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 68, par. 15) is relevant to the establishment of his liability for the support of this minor. He argues that the Family Expense Act requires that there be a family unit in order to require reimbursement for the support of a minor. We do not agree. The family unit argument has no bearing on the instant case as the same is brought under the ...


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