APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT
and MONAFAE M. BASS, Respondent-Appellant
530 N.E.2d 717, 176 Ill. App. 3d 249, 125 Ill. Dec. 559 1988.IL.1630
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Fulton County; the Hon. Charles H. Wilhelm, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WOMBACHER delivered the opinion of the court. STOUDER, P.J., and SCOTT, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOMBACHER
The defendant appeals the decision of the trial court transferring custody of the parties' three minor children to the plaintiff.
The parties were divorced on June 17, 1985. At that time, Clyde Bass, Jr. (plaintiff), was 36 years old and Monafae (defendant) was 28 years old. The parties had three children during their marriage, to wit: Ellen Bass (Ellen), born February 10, 1976; Laura Bass (Laura), born May 29, 1977; and Clyde Bass III (Clyde III), born December 11, 1978. Monafae was awarded custody of the children; however, Clyde, Jr., was granted reasonable visitation.
On May 2, 1986, Monafae filed a petition to remove the children from Illinois to Wisconsin. Her ability to support herself and the children became more limited due to a decrease in her earnings. She wanted to move to Wisconsin, where she knew she had a better job and benefits waiting. She stated that she was promised a dairy farm job, including a salary, a house with paid utilities, food, telephone, gasoline, auto repairs, and medical, dental, and eye coverage. The farm onto which she desired to move was owned and managed by her family.
On July 11, 1986, the trial court entered its order allowing her to remove the children to Wisconsin. Monafae and the children thereafter moved to Wisconsin. From June 1986 until December 1986, Monafae and the children lived with her maternal grandmother in a three-bedroom house on the farm. Monafae's maternal grandmother was living out of wedlock at this time. Clyde III and his great-grandmother each had their own bedroom; Laura and Ellen shared a bedroom; and Monafae slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room. Ever since they moved to Wisconsin, Monafae's boyfriend (Glen) would stay two to three nights a week. He and Monafae would stay in Laura and Ellen's room, forcing them to sleep on the hide-a-bed.
Near the end of 1986, Monafae and the children moved into a two-bedroom house on the farm. When the frequency of Glen's overnight visits increased, Glen and Monafae regularly occupied the girls' bedroom. From March 1987 until May 1987, the hide-a-bed was broken and the girls were then required to sleep uncomfortably on the floor. Frequently the children were left unattended when they arrived home from school.
While in Wisconsin, the children attended elementary schools, church occasionally, and engaged in extracurricular activities. A counselor remarked that Clyde III had difficulty dealing with his parents' divorce; however, Laura and Ellen adjusted well. Their teachers noticed the children were well dressed and groomed, clean, and appeared healthy. Laura and Ellen were good students, but Clyde III was only average. Monafae seemed interested in the children's academic development as well as extracurricular activities; however, she did not permit them to invite friends over after school. The children claimed they did not like the school they attended in Wisconsin.
On May 28, 1987, Clyde, Jr., filed a petition to modify the dissolution judgment, seeking to obtain custody of the children. Clyde, Jr., claimed the environment in which the children lived in Wisconsin was adversely affecting their physical, mental, and emotional health. There were a couple of reported incidents of Monafae physically disciplining Clyde III with a coat hanger and a belt. Clyde III and Laura wished to live
On July 14, 1987, the trial court denied Monafae's motions. Simultaneous thereto, Clyde, Jr., filed a motion for temporary custody and a restraining order prohibiting Monafae from removing the children from Illinois until the court could decide the matter on the merits. Clyde, Jr.'s, motion was granted on July 17, 1987. The court entered a ...