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11/30/89 the People Ex Rel. Sharon v. Charles R. Williams

November 30, 1989

THE PEOPLE EX REL. SHARON WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

CHARLES R. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

547 N.E.2d 727, 191 Ill. App. 3d 311, 138 Ill. Dec. 560 1989.IL.1846

Appeal from the Circuit Court of De Witt County; the Hon. Donald R. Parkinson, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and GREEN, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE STEIGMANN

Is the trial court statutorily barred from imposing a retroactive child support obligation upon a respondent in an ongoing child support proceeding who, contrary to the court's specific directive, failed to inform the court of his having resumed employment? We hold that the court is not.

In May 1984, petitioner, Sharon Williams (Sharon), obtained a judgment of dissolution of marriage from respondent, Charles Williams (Charles). In December 1984, pursuant to a marital settlement agreement, the court granted custody of the couple's two minor children to Sharon. At that time, Charles was completely disabled and receiving $564 per month in social security benefits. The court's supplemental order of December 1984 noted that the children were entitled to receive $282 per month from the Social Security Administration due to Charles' disability and that this allowance was to be paid to Sharon for the benefit of the children. The question of further child support was reserved pending a substantial change in the financial circumstances or needs of Charles, Sharon, or the children.

In February 1985, Sharon filed a petition to modify child support, alleging that Charles was employed and earning an income in addition to the social security disability payment. Evidence presented on Sharon's petition revealed that Charles earned approximately $4,000 from December 30, 1984, to April 20, 1985. In May 1985, Charles was ordered to pay as support, in addition to the social security benefits to be received by his children, the sum of $200 per month for a two-month period. Thereafter, support payments were once again to revert to social security benefits to be paid to the children until such time as Charles resumed employment.

In January 1987, Sharon filed a second petition to modify and also a petition for rule to show cause. Sharon alleged that Charles had again resumed employment but had not notified the court. At the same time, the Illinois Department of Public Aid (the Department) filed a petition to intervene and modify the court's order. At the hearing held in February 1987 on these petitions, Charles testified that he had done some part-time work in 1985, and had worked full time from July 1 to October 14, 1985. Charles admitted he failed to notify anyone that he had returned to work. The trial court granted the Department's petition to intervene and also granted the Department's request that Charles be directed to make payments for the 4 1/2 months in question in 1985. He was directed to make seven $100 monthly payments, with the first payment to be on March 11, 1987, and a $100 payment to be made on the 11th day of each month until the entire $700 was paid. In rendering judgment, the trial court also stated the following:

"Defendant [Charles] is specifically directed to notify the court within 7 days of resuming any full-time employment. In other words if you go to any sort of full-time employment that you have you have to notify the court about that within 7 days of that taking place. Do you understand that Mr. Williams?

MR. WILLIAMS: Yes."

At the February 1987 hearing, Charles was questioned by counsel for the Department as follows:

"Q. Mr. Williams, you were present in court back in May, 1985, in this ...


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