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11/10/87 In Re Marriage of Mary Ann Page

November 10, 1987

IN RE MARRIAGE OF MARY ANN PAGE, PETITIONER-APPELLEE, AND


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

PATRICK J. PAGE, Respondent (Patrick J. Page,

Contemnor-Appellant)

515 N.E.2d 1061, 162 Ill. App. 3d 515, 113 Ill. Dec. 902 1987.IL.1664

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Melvin E. Dunn, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG, P.J., and INGLIS, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REINHARD

Patrick Page (Husband) was found in indirect criminal contempt for violating a court order entered June 23, 1986, and sentenced to serve 90 days in the Kane County jail with 80 days suspended. Husband was again found in contempt for violating the same order on December 22, 1986, and was ordered to serve the remainder of the 90-day sentence. After denial of his post-hearing motions, Husband appealed.

Husband raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court had the power to enter the June 23, 1986, order requiring him to seek or find employment; (2) whether the trial court order of June 23, 1986, was invalid because it required him to perform an act outside of his control; (3) whether he in fact complied with the June 23, 1986, order thereby rendering the contempt finding improper; (4) whether the trial court denied him due process when it reinstated his sentence on December 22, 1986; and (5) whether the September 30, 1986, contempt order was improper because it failed to identify the specific factual bases for the finding that he wilfully disobeyed the June 23, 1986, order.

The parties' marriage was dissolved in 1980. The judgment of dissolution of marriage required, in pertinent part, that Husband pay $100 per week in child support. After Husband became delinquent in the child support payments, Mary Ann Page (Wife) sought redress in the circuit court. In April 1983, Wife filed a petition for a rule to show cause why Husband should not be held in contempt for failure to pay child support, upon which the court later ruled that Husband had not wilfully failed to make the payments. However, arrearages were found and the amount ordered paid from social security benefits. After numerous motions by Wife, including another petition for a rule to show cause, the court again ruled, in May 1985, that Husband was not in contempt for failing to make child support payments, although his interest in the marital home was reduced by his arrearages in child support.

More importantly, in December 1984, the court began to monitor Husband's employment efforts by ordering him to partake in an employment training program. Since the dissolution of marriage, Husband had a severe drinking problem and was no longer regularly employed. On March 17, 1986, the court ordered Husband to supply copies of any correspondence with the employment training program and to report to the court on his efforts in finding employment. On May 22, 1986, after a rule to show cause had been issued, the court dismissed the rule and continued the matter as to Husband's employment status to June 23, 1986.

Although no petition for a rule to show cause was pending, on June 23, 1986, the court entered an order, which is the focus of this appeal, requiring "[that] the Defendant shall apply for Public Aid and apply for employment in any endeavor which will hire him." On July 30, 1986, Wife filed a petition for rule to show cause why Husband should not be held in contempt for failure to comply with the March 17, 1986, May 22, 1986, and June 23, 1986, orders. Additionally, on July 30, 1986, the court entered a rule to show cause. After a continuance to September 22, 1986, the court issued a body writ which was subsequently stayed until September 30, 1986.

On September 30, 1986, the court conducted a hearing regarding Husband's compliance with the June 23, 1986, order. After testimony by Husband as to his efforts to seek employment, the court found him in indirect criminal contempt for failure to comply with its June 23, 1986, employment order. The court sentenced Husband to 90 days in the Kane County jail, but suspended 80 days of the sentence. Additionally, the court continued "all prior orders in full force and effect in terms of seeking meaningful employment" to November 10, 1986, for further review.

After a continuance, a hearing was set for November 15, 1986, at which time Husband and his attorney failed to appear. The court entered an order lifting its prior stay of mittimus and ordered Husband to serve the remainder of the 90-day sentence. Husband subsequently moved to vacate the ...


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