Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. William
E. Peterson, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied June 5, 1986.
This is an appeal from a denial by the circuit court of Cook County of a motion for reconsideration of a judgment of dissolution of marriage. The motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner on October 16, 1984, to set aside and vacate a property-settlement agreement favoring respondent which was incorporated in a judgment of dissolution entered August 16, 1984. Petitioner's motion was denied by the circuit court as untimely filed. On appeal, petitioner contends that: (1) his motion to reconsider was timely filed; and (2) the trial court erred in failing to enforce the settlement agreed to by the parties on August 19, 1983.
We affirm the decision of the trial court.
The procedural history leading up to this appeal is as follows:
On October 9, 1981, petitioner, Phillip Hillinger (Phillip), filed in the circuit court of Cook County a petition for dissolution of his 25-year marriage to respondent, Gwendolyn Hillinger (Gwendolyn). Gwendolyn, in turn, filed a countersuit against Phillip on October 23, 1981. During the following two years, both parties participated in discovery, and on May 16, 1983, trial commenced. The trial was subsequently continued for further proceedings on May 26, 1983, August 15, 1983, and August 18, 1983.
On the August 18 date, at the urging of the trial judge, the parties agreed to discuss the possibility of a settlement, although all previous attempts to resolve the dispute had been unsuccessful. At that time, the parties conducted negotiations outside of the presence of the trial court and later informed the judge that they had reached an accord. The trial court then advised the parties to take a day to reflect upon their agreement, and set a prove-up hearing for the next day.
On the morning of August 19, 1983, the parties signed a handwritten document embodying the terms of their settlement agreement. The document listed the material provisions of the agreement between the parties including the disposition of marital property, maintenance, payment of outstanding marital debts, as well as payment of Gwendolyn's medical insurance premiums and attorney fees. During the prove-up hearing, both Phillip and Gwendolyn testified that each freely entered into the settlement agreement, and that each was satisfied with the settlement provisions.
After hearing the testimony of both parties, the trial court ordered that a written judgment of divorce incorporating the terms of the settlement agreement be drafted for entry. On September 8, 1983, counsel for Phillip presented to the trial court the draft written judgment order as requested. Gwendolyn, however, then opposed entry of the draft order. Consequently, the trial court granted Phillip's request for leave to file the draft judgment order of dissolution, and further granted Gwendolyn leave to file within 10 days her objections to entry of the judgment of dissolution.
Gwendolyn filed her written objections to entry of the judgment on September 21, 1983. On October 3, 1983, a hearing was held on these objections. On October 20, 1983, the trial court sustained Gwendolyn's objections and denied Phillip's petition for entry of the judgment order embodying the terms of the settlement agreement. The court's order further indicated that the trial which had commenced on May 16, 1983, would continue on December 6, 1983. Phillip's appeal from this order was denied by this court on December 7, 1983, for the reason that the order was not final and appealable.
Subsequently, the trial court on various dates resumed the trial and took evidence in this case, rendering its decision dividing the bulk of the marital assets on July 25, 1984. On August 16, 1984, the trial court entered judgment of dissolution referring to exhibits "A" through "E" which were to be submitted to the trial court for attachment to the judgment order within 24 hours. Exhibits "A" and "B" consisted of the legal description of two parcels of land owned by the parties: one in Northbrook, Illinois, the other in Minocqua, Wisconsin; exhibits "C1" and "C2" listed the personal property items contained in the parties' Northbrook home which were awarded to Gwendolyn; exhibit "D" listed the personal property items in the parties' Minocqua home awarded to Phillip; and exhibit "E" listed the marital debts to be paid by Phillip.
On September 13, 1984, Gwendolyn moved to compel attachment of the exhibits which had not yet been attached to the judgment order. This motion was heard on September 21, 1984, at which time, over objection of Gwendolyn's counsel, the trial court entered an order tendered by Phillip's counsel attaching the exhibits to the judgment nunc pro tunc August 17, [sic] 1984. *fn1
Thereafter, on October 16, 1984, Phillip filed a motion to reconsider the judgment entered in this case. This motion was denied on November 14, 1984, as not being timely filed. Phillip subsequently filed with the circuit court a notice of appeal from the orders entered ...