APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN
CROWN, Judge, presiding.
MISS PRESIDING JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The sole issue raised in this appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded custody of the respondent's minor child to the petitioner.
In 1976 both the petitioner, Nolan Lloyd (Nolan), and the respondent, Jo Ann Lloyd (Jo Ann), filed petitions for dissolution of their marriage in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Both parties requested custody of the minor child, Nolan Lloyd, Jr. (Nolan, Jr.). On May 23, 1978, the trial court found that Nolan had proved his grounds for dissolution of marriage.
On June 5, 1979, a hearing was held concerning the issue of custody of Nolan, Jr. At that hearing, the parties stipulated that certain blood tests established that Nolan was not the father of the child.
Nolan Lloyd testified that he worked as a meat cutter in Chicago for 20 years. He stated that he met Jo Ann in 1969 and subsequently engaged in regular sexual relations with her. After Jo Ann informed Nolan that she was pregnant in 1970, the parties moved into an apartment together. On December 28, 1970, Nolan, Jr., was born.
In 1971 Jo Ann moved into another apartment with the baby. Nolan kept the baby on weekends while Jo Ann worked. In 1972 the baby lived with Nolan. In 1973 Nolan and the child moved to the apartment where they presently reside. At that time Nolan enrolled the child in nursery school. In 1974 Nolan and Jo Ann were married. However, Jo Ann moved out of Nolan's apartment a few days after the ceremony.
In 1975 the parties obtained a new birth certificate for Nolan, Jr., which reflected the fact that Nolan was the father. At no time did Jo Ann tell Nolan that he was not the father of the child.
One morning in August of 1976, Jo Ann arrived at Nolan's apartment. Jo Ann stayed with Nolan, Jr., while Nolan went to work. When Nolan returned that evening, Jo Ann and the child were gone.
Six and a half weeks later private detectives hired by Nolan located Jo Ann and Nolan, Jr., in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nolan went to Cincinnati, found Nolan, Jr., with Jo Ann's sister in a grocery store and brought Nolan, Jr., back to Chicago.
At present Nolan, Jr., lives with Nolan in Chicago where he is enrolled in a private school, plays basketball and participates in a Cub Scout program.
Dee Bellanfant, a minister, testified that Nolan and Nolan, Jr., had a good relationship and that Nolan, Jr., obeyed his father.
Claudia Brison, Nolan's aunt, testified that Nolan treats the child well. She also stated that she takes care of Nolan, Jr., while Nolan is at work.
Jo Ann Lloyd testified that she is a nurse's aid in Cincinnati where she lives with her sister. She stated that Nolan was not the father of the child, that he was aware of that fact and that she never told him that he was the father. The reason the parties married in 1974 was to enable the child to use Nolan's name. Jo Ann admitted that she signed the affidavit for the birth certificate which indicated that Nolan was the child's father.
Jo Ann explained that the reason Nolan, Jr., often stayed with Nolan before her move to Cincinnati was that she worked nights and did not have a car in ...