APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cumberland County; the Hon.
WILLIAM J. SUNDERMAN, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LONDRIGAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
We are confronted with the fifth chapter in the Sidwell saga. We hope our decision will bring an end to the Fourth District's version of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.
To avoid an unduly long opinion, we will confine our discussion of the facts to Sidwell IV (Sidwell v. Sidwell (1978), 58 Ill. App.3d 33, 373 N.E.2d 814) and the present case. An excellent summary of the early history of this litigation may be found in Mr. Justice Simkins' opinion in Sidwell v. Sidwell (1975), 28 Ill. App.3d 580, 328 N.E.2d 595.
In Sidwell IV, this court attempted to insure that Sidwell IV would be the final chapter in this bitter litigation. We concluded:
"[T]he trial court as and for alimony in gross and special equities must enter an order providing an equal division of the property and liabilities applicable thereto acquired during the marriage. If the parties can agree, well and good. If they cannot agree upon such division, each shall submit to the trial court a plan for division into equal shares. The court shall then order one or the other of the plans approved. The party whose plan is not ordered approved shall have first choice of either half provided for in the plan submitted and ordered approved. The trial court shall thereupon cause such deeds or other instruments executed as may be necessary to effectuate the division." (58 Ill. App.3d 33, 36, 373 N.E.2d 814, 817.)
We also ordered that the trial court enter an order granting attorney fees to Mrs. Sidwell upon remand without further hearing.
Mr. Sidwell petitioned for a rehearing. His petition was denied. He then petitioned to the supreme court for leave to appeal. The supreme court denied his petition. The mandate of this court was issued on October 24, 1978.
On May 1, 1979, the trial court entered an order which made a division of the property and awarded attorney fees to Mrs. Sidwell. Mr. Sidwell filed a motion to vacate the order on May 18, 1979. The motion was granted. The trial court entered a second order on March 31, 1980, confirming a plan submitted by Mrs. Sidwell. Mr. Sidwell filed a motion to vacate that order on April 18, 1980. A hearing was held on the motion on May 29, 1980. The trial court allowed the motion to vacate and directed both parties to submit plans of distribution before June 24, 1980.
After this point, the record becomes somewhat murky. Apparently, an order was entered on August 27, 1980, confirming a plan submitted by Mrs. Sidwell. The docket sheet indicates that a "Judgment Order" was entered on September 2, 1980. Mr. Sidwell filed a motion to vacate the order on September 25, 1980. A hearing was held on October 21, 1980.
At the hearing, Mr. Sidwell argued that the plan submitted by Mrs. Sidwell and approved by the trial court was clearly not in compliance with the mandate of this court. If the motion to vacate was allowed, Mr. Sidwell contended, he would try to formulate a plan. Finally, Mr. Sidwell claimed that he had no notice of the entry of the order. The trial court rejected Mr. Sidwell's arguments and denied his motion to vacate. The trial court stated that the order of August 27 contemplated that a further order would be entered. The trial court entered an order on October 21, 1980, which provided the following:
(1) Roy Sidwell will be charged with the value of all cash in bank, livestock, grain, machinery, equipment and miscellaneous assets appearing in defendant's exhibit No. 3 (a financial statement of Sidwell dated March 19, 1964).
(2) Roy Sidwell will pay all liens, mortgages and encumbrances on the real estate other than is shown on the financial statement of March 19, 1964.
(3) Roy Sidwell will pay all obligations shown on the financial ...