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05/18/87 Katherine A. Fedun, F/K/A v. James E. Kuczek

May 18, 1987

KATHERINE A. FEDUN, F/K/A KATHERINE A. KUCZEK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JAMES E. KUCZEK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

508 N.E.2d 531, 155 Ill. App. 3d 798, 108 Ill. Dec. 370 1987.IL.638

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. John B. Crain, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ, P.J., and KNECHT, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND

On February 20, 1985, plaintiff filed a petition in the circuit court of Sangamon County requesting increased child support and permission to change the domicile of the child. A hearing was held on April 22, 1985. On June 26, 1986, the court entered an order allowing the plaintiff to relocate and change the domicile of the child, increasing child support, setting visitation rights, and directing defendant to pay an expense for psychological treatment of the child. Defendant appeals alleging (1) the court erred by increasing the child support; (2) the court abused its discretion in adjusting defendant's visitation; and (3) the court abused its discretion in making the obligation of the defendant to pay increased child support retroactive to a period approximately 11 months prior to the date of judgment. We modify and affirm.

Katherine Fedun, formerly Katherine Kuczek, and James Kuczek were married in June 1971 and had one child, John, born in March 1976. Their marriage was dissolved in April 1977. Plaintiff received custody of John. Defendant was ordered to pay $200 per month child support, to pay all medical and dental expenses for the minor, including maintenance of a health insurance policy, to maintain certain life and disability insurance policies in which plaintiff is beneficiary for the benefit of John, and to pay all costs attendant to the minor being educated at a recognized college or university. Both plaintiff and defendant were working as teachers with annual gross incomes of approximately $10,000 and $12,800, respectively.

An "Amendment to Decree of Divorce" was filed on November 14, 1980. Plaintiff and John were allowed to move to Iowa with plaintiff's new husband. Defendant's visitation was set at six weeks during the summer, one-half of John's Christmas and Easter vacations, and a three-day weekend in October and February. Defendant was responsible for all traveling expenses. Child support was abated during the six-week visitation period.

A hearing on the petition requesting increased child support and permission to change the domicile of the child was held on April 22, 1985. The evidence showed plaintiff remarried in 1980 and left her position as a teacher. Since that time, she has not worked other than as a homemaker, stating she is unable to find a full-time teaching position. She has chosen not to work as a substitute teacher, believing it is financially impractical, nor has she pursued the possibility of another line of work. For the years 1980 through 1984, she and her husband reported adjusted gross incomes of $38,800, $28,400, $45,400, $37,500, and $37,400. Her husband's job required their moving first to Bettendorf, Iowa, and then to Indianapolis, Indiana. He was now being transferred to Columbus, Ohio. The distance from Springfield to Indianapolis is approximately 223 miles and from Springfield to Columbus is between 376 and 400 miles.

She opined that in 1977 the cost of raising John was between $3,000 and $4,000. She presented a budget showing the cost for 1985 was approximately $7,300. She and her husband are able to place, yearly, money in a savings account for John from their income tax refund. This account has a balance between $500 and $1,000. She also invested her teacher's retirement in an annuity with a value of about $6,000. John had to receive psychological services for a stuttering problem which occurred shortly after the divorce for which plaintiff paid $280.

Defendant's annual gross income is now approximately $21,000. His employment responsibilities as a high school teacher and football coach have required a great deal of his time during the summer and make it impossible for him to accept summer employment. His monthly take-home pay is $1,377. He has remarried and has a teenage stepdaughter. The monthly take-home earnings of defendant and his wife are between $1,700 and $1,800. He estimated the monthly family living expenses for 1984 were approximately $1,700.

Defendant paid $506 in premiums for medical insurance. It is anticipated that John will need orthodontic treatment with a cost between $300 and $500 for which defendant is responsible. If the treatment is not successful, more treatment may be required. During 1984, defendant spent in excess of $3,270 on child support, premiums on insurance policies he is required to maintain by the decree, medical and dental expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses for John. This does not include the increased family expenses when John visits during the summer.

On June 26, 1986, the court entered an order which (1) allows the plaintiff and John to move to Ohio; (2) increases child support effective February 20, 1985, to $325 per month with no abatement for the summer six-week visitation; (3) directs defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the psychological services in the amount of $280; and (4) alters visitation to six weeks in the summer and one-half of John's Easter and Christmas vacations with the cost of transportation split evenly by the parties, and alternating Thanksgiving and Labor Day weekend visitation with the cost borne by defendant.

Defendant filed a post-trial motion on July 25, 1986. On September 8, 1986, the court modified its order by making the increased child support effective to July 1, 1985, ...


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