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02/05/87 Katrina Bradshaw, v. Robert J. Pellican

February 5, 1987

KATRINA BRADSHAW, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

ROBERT J. PELLICAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

504 N.E.2d 211, 152 Ill. App. 3d 253, 105 Ill. Dec. 342 1987.IL.132

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Michael Colwell, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HOPF delivered the opinion of the court. NASH and REINHARD, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HOPF

Defendant, Robert J. Pellican, appeals from orders of the circuit court of Kane County finding him to be the father of Natasha Bradshaw and ordering him to pay child support. Defendant claims the court did not have jurisdiction because defendant was never personally served with summons and that the court erred in denying his petition to vacate pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) and in awarding attorney fees to plaintiff both in the trial court and on appeal.

Plaintiff, Katrina Bradshaw, commenced this paternity action by filing her complaint on June 8, 1984. The special process server's unverified return indicates that defendant was personally served with a summons and copy of the complaint on October 10, 1984. Defendant failed to appear, and on November 8, 1984, the court entered a default judgment finding defendant to be the father of Natasha Bradshaw and ordering defendant to pay $876 for expenses of the child's birth. On January 17, 1985, the court ordered defendant to pay $60 per week for child support.

On June 1, 1985, defendant filed his special appearance, limited to a motion to quash service of summons. Defendant's affidavit accompanying the motion stated that defendant had never been personally served. The record shows two orders dated June 18, 1985. The first order denied defendant's special appearance and purported to convert it into a general appearance. The second order states that the cause was set for a hearing on plaintiff's petition for a rule to show cause against defendant. After stating "the parties having reached agreement," the court found an arrearage of $1,320 on child support and ordered defendant to pay $1, 000 to plaintiff's attorney immediately and to pay an additional $5 per week on the balance of the arrearage.

Defendant on appeal contends that he was never personally served with summons and thus the trial court erred in denying his special and limited appearance. Preliminarily, however, we must determine the nature of the second order of June 18. If the defendant voluntarily submitted to the court's jurisdiction he may not maintain his jurisdictional objection. (See Lord v. Hubert (1957), 12 Ill. 2d 83, 87, 145 N.E.2d 77.) We are not aided in this inquiry by the fact that we have not been supplied with a transcript or bystander's report of the proceedings of June 18. It is the duty of the appellant to provide a sufficient record on appeal. (In re Marriage of Pillot (1986), 145 Ill. App. 3d 293, 299, 495 N.E.2d 1247.) In the absence of a complete record, we must presume that the court's orders were proper. Rosenblatt v. Michigan Avenue National Bank (1979), 70 Ill. App. 3d 1039, 1042, 389 N.E.2d 182.

A defendant who unsuccessfully challenges service of process in the trial court may stand on his jurisdictional objection, take a default judgment and appeal, or submit to the court's jurisdiction and waive the objection. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-301.) Any action by a litigant which recognizes the case as being in court will constitute a waiver unless it is solely for the purpose of objecting to jurisdiction. (Lord v. Hubert (1957), 12 Ill. 2d 83, 87, 145 N.E.2d 77; In re Marriage of Schuham (1983), 120 Ill. App. 3d 339, 344, 458 N.E.2d 559.) A party may appear ever after judgment and become bound by the foregoing proceedings. (Lord v. Hubert (1957), 12 Ill. 2d 83, 87, 145 N.E.2d 77.) The critical question is whether the defendant has taken any step which requires the exercise of jurisdiction by the court. Supreme Hive, Ladies of the Maccabees of the World v. Harrington (1907), 227 Ill. 511, 525, 81 N.E. 533.

In Welter v. Bowman Dairy Co. (1943), 318 Ill. App. 305, 315, 47 N.E.2d 739, by agreement of the parties defendant was granted leave to file his appearance and was ordered to file an affidavit of merits within five days. The agreed order for an extension of time to defendant recognized the jurisdiction of the court for all purposes. (318 Ill. App. 305, 316, 47 N.E.2d 739.) In Slade v. Bowman (1977), 49 Ill. App. 3d 242, 364 N.E.2d 922, the court found that by arguing the merits of plaintiff's section 72 petition (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 72, now codified as Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401), defendant had made a general appearance and thereby waived his objection as to lack of notice. 49 Ill. App. 3d 242, 245-46, 364 N.E.2d 922.

In the present case, the court's order recited the agreement of the parties that a deficiency existed and created an installment plan for making up the deficiency. This clearly recognized the validity of the prior proceedings and invoked the court's jurisdiction to alleviate the harshness of a contempt citation. Defendant cannot invoke the court's jurisdiction, then question that jurisdiction on appeal. (See Supreme Hive, Ladies of the Maccabees of the World v. Harrington (1907), 227 Ill. 511, 525, 81 N.E. 533.) We note in passing that the waiver argument was not raised by the parties. Nonetheless, we may sustain the judgment of the trial court on any basis which appears in the record. (Material Service Corp. v. Department of Revenue (1983), 98 Ill. 2d 382, 387, 457 N.E.2d 9.) Since we have no report of proceedings, we assume the trial court's order accurately reflects the proceedings of June 28.

Defendant next contends that the court erred in denying his section 2-1401 petition to vacate. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401.) After the June 18 hearing, defendant apparently took no steps to reduce the deficiency, and a second petition for rule to show cause was filed August 21, 1985. On October 2, the rule was issued, and defendant was granted leave to file his section 2-1401 petition.

Defendant's affidavit in support of the petition averred that defendant had never received notice of the hearing on the paternity action, that plaintiff had admitted to defendant that she had had sexual relations with a co-worker, and that defendant's previous attorneys had failed to inform him of the section 2 -- 1401 remedy. The court held a ...


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