APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
Respondent-Appellant, and TERRY L. HURST,
517 N.E.2d 617, 164 Ill. App. 3d 148, 115 Ill. Dec. 206 1987.IL.1801
Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. Earl McCaskill, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HARRISON delivered the opinion of the court. KARNS, P.J., and LEWIS, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HARRISON
Respondent, Constance Kehres, filed a motion in the circuit court of St. Clair County pursuant to section 8(b) of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 2108(b)) requesting that the court decline to exercise its jurisdiction on grounds of forum non conveniens with respect to a contempt petition filed by petitioner, Terry L. Hurst. In that petition, Hurst alleged that respondent had violated a prior order entered by the court regarding child visitation rights. Following a hearing, respondent's motion was denied. We granted her leave to appeal under Supreme Court Rule 306 (107 Ill. 2d R. 306), and we now affirm.
Respondent and petitioner were married in St. Clair County, Illinois, on August 6, 1979. This union produced two children, Jennifer and Jessica Hurst, who resided with their parents in the State of Illinois.
On June 28, 1982, a judgment was entered by the circuit court of St. Clair County dissolving the parties' marriage. That judgment approved and incorporated by reference a marital settlement agreement executed by the parties which provided for joint legal custody of the children. The agreement specified, inter alia, that petitioner was to have physical custody of the children during the school year, while respondent was to have physical custody during summer vacations. It also set forth a visitation schedule.
In January of 1985, problems developed regarding the visitation and communication privileges of respondent, who had, by this time, moved to Virginia. Both petitioner and respondent sought relief from the circuit court of St. Clair County, and the court set all pending motions for a hearing to be held on March 27, 1985. In the meantime, the State's Attorney for St. Clair County, through the Department of Children and Family Services , commenced juvenile proceedings to remove the children from petitioner's home based on allegations of child abuse.
Various developments then took place. The circuit court of St. Clair County removed physical custody of the children from petitioner and ordered that a home study be conducted of respondent in Virginia to aid in determining whether custody should be changed. Respondent, in turn, petitioned for modification of the original judgment of dissolution with respect to custody of the children, and, on May 22, 1985, a temporary agreement was reached under which respondent was awarded custody and allowed to move the children to Virginia. Petitioner was given visitation privileges, and the court ordered respondent to obtain counseling for the children in Virginia, which was to be monitored by the Illinois DCFS. At that time, the children began to reside and have continued to reside with respondent at her home in Virginia.
The children commenced counseling with a doctor in Virginia, and on August 23, 1985, Virginia social services authorities filed a home study report with the court in St. Clair County. Early the following month, that court affirmed placement of the children with respondent and ordered supervision for six months by DCFS through Virginia social services. This was done as part of the juvenile proceedings which had been commenced by the State's Attorney. Shortly thereafter, on September 26, 1985, the circuit court further granted respondent's petition for modification of the original judgment of dissolution. In its modification order, the court awarded custody of the children to respondent, subject to six months of supervision by Virginia social services authorities, and granted visitation rights to petitioner, including the right to communicate with the children by telephone.
Less than four months later, in January of 1986, petitioner filed his petition in the circuit court of St. Clair County asking that respondent be held in contempt for violation of the provisions of the September 26, 1985, order. This petition was set for hearing on March 12, 1986. On that date, however, respondent filed a motion pursuant to section 8(b) of the UCCJA (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 2108(b)) in which she requested that the ...