APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION
and MATTHEW McBRIDE, Respondent-Appellant
519 N.E.2d 1095, 166 Ill. App. 3d 504, 116 Ill. Dec. 880 1988.IL.202
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Michael J. Jordan and the Hon. Julia M. Nowicki, Judges, presiding.
JUSTICE MURRAY delivered the opinion of the court. LORENZ, P.J., and PINCHAM, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MURRAY
Respondent, Matthew McBride, appeals from two orders entered by different trial courts in post-dissolution of marriage proceedings concerning child support payments. One order awarded child support arrearages to petitioner, Madeline McBride, and the other order modified the amount of child support payments. On appeal, Matthew contends that the trial courts committed a number of errors in computing his arrearages and child support payments. Alternatively, he argues that equitable estoppel and laches barred Madeline's right to arrearages and, accordingly, she was improperly awarded attorney fees. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
The parties were married on April 20, 1968. Three children were born as a result of the marriage: Matthew, Jr., November 21, 1970, Brian, June 19, 1972, and Megan, January 25, 1975. On November 3, 1976, Madeline filed a complaint for divorce. At that time, Madeline was earning $14,000 annually. Matthew earned $40,000 and received reimbursement for certain business expenses related to entertaining business customers on behalf of his employer, a golf magazine company.
On December 15, 1977, the circuit court of Cook County entered a judgment of dissolution of marriage, *fn1 dissolving the parties' marriage. Pursuant to an agreement between the parties, *fn2 the judgment of dissolution of marriage included the following child support provisions:
The Husband shall pay to the Wife as and for child support for each of the three minor children of the parties a sum equal to forty (40%) percent of his ' net income' as hereinafter defined, in equal monthly installments, of not less than $650.00 per month, but no more than $1,000.00 per month, commencing June 1, 1977, and continuing until death, majority or emancipation (as herein defined) of each child. Husband shall pay the Wife twice monthly on the 5th and 20th of the month, with no less than $250.00 being paid on the 5th and the balance on the 20th. The Husband shall be entitled to claim two of the minor children as dependents on his Federal and State income tax returns and shall be entitled to claim the third minor child as a dependent on his Federal and State income tax returns every other year alternating with Wife's right to claim said minor child on her Federal and State income tax returns every other year. At the end of each quarter, Husband will supply Wife with the stubs from his paychecks and an accounting will be made to insure that the child support payments have for the quarter been 40% of the Husband's net income for that quarter. At the end of each year, an accounting will be made to insure that the child support payments have for the year been 40% of the Husband's net income, not exceeding $12,000.00 nor less than $7,800.00, adjustment to be made by the parties at such time to comply with this formula.
. . .' Net Income' is defined as the Husband's total annual earnings and income in each calendar year from all sources, but excluding earnings or income by way of capital gains, dividends (unless declared by a corporation employing the Husband), interest or inheritance, after deducting from that income or earnings, all Federal and State individual taxes for which the Husband shall be liable with respect hereto, including social security deductions." (Emphasis added.)
Subsequent to the entry of the court's order, Matthew unilaterally began to deduct the additional amount of his nonreimbursed business expenses from his gross income before computing his 40% child support payments. These expenses consisted of expenditures made by Matthew to entertain current and potential customers desiring to purchase advertising space in the golf magazine. Specifically, his ...