Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. No. 86-D-1606. Honorable Harris H. Agnew, Judge, Presiding.
Released for Publication March 3, 1994.
Woodward, Geiger, Quetsch
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Woodward
JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court:
Petitioner, James Pihaly, appeals from an order of the circuit court which granted the petition for modification of child support filed by respondent, Jeanne Pihaly, and which granted in part and denied in part respondent's petition for a rule to show cause. He raises four issues before this court: (1) the circuit court abused its discretion by increasing child-support payments to $900 per month; (2) the circuit court abused its discretion in ordering petitioner to pay $3,000 of respondent's attorney fees; (3) the circuit court erred in ignoring a previous court order modifying child support and determining that he owed an arrearage of $10,138.25; and (4) the circuit court abused its discretion by setting the child support at a percentage of his income.
Judgment for dissolution of the parties' marriage was entered on August 21, 1987. The parties have two children, Alison and Andrew. Custody of both children was awarded to respondent. Attached to the judgment was a Marital Settlement Agreement (Agreement) executed by the parties. Pursuant to the Agreement, petitioner was ordered to pay child support of $600 per month per child and the sum of $500 per month for maintenance. By the Agreement, maintenance was to be terminated in June 1988. Additional "child support" included one-half of the house payment (approximately $600 per month), 25% of petitioner's "net" income above $4,500 per month, and 25% of any and all tax refunds. Petitioner received the tax exemptions for both minor children. At the sale of the marital residence, the net equity would be equally divided between the parties. Testimony at the dissolution of marriage hearing indicated that petitioner was a stockbroker working for E.F. Hutton. His income in 1986 was approximately $94,000. Respondent had a Masters Degree in Nursing and was working part-time as a registered nurse at Rockford Memorial Hospital.
In the ensuing years, the parties engaged in extensive litigation. The following chart provided by one of the parties highlights the initial terms of the Agreement and the subsequent petitions for modification and the results therefrom:
Date of Direct "Additional" % Child
Entry of Child Child Support Support
8/21/87 $1,200/mo. 1/2 house 25% of net
10/6/88 $1,200/mo. No change to 25% of net
4/28/89 $600/mo. No change to 25% of net