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03/31/94 PATERNITY MATTER GEANESE PERRY FOR MINOR

March 31, 1994

IN RE THE PATERNITY MATTER OF: GEANESE PERRY, FOR THE MINOR DANA PERRY, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND WEBSTER CLAYTON, III, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable R. Morgan Hamilton, Judge Presiding.

Hartman, DiVITO, McCORMICK

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hartman

JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioner, Geanese Perry, appeals from an agreed order for child support. The sole issue presented here, whether a circuit court must comply with section 505(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the Act) (750 ILCS 5/505(a) (West 1992) (section 505(a))) when entering an agreed order for child support, is one of first impression.

On February 24, 1986, a court determined that respondent, Dr. Webster Clayton, III, is the father of petitioner's daughter, born June 30, 1981, and ordered respondent to pay $175 per month for child support.

On May 27, 1992, petitioner filed a petition for an increase in child support based upon the changed circumstances of the parties and the increased needs of the child. The court heard testimony regarding the parties' respective incomes and expenses on October 14, November 4, and December 17, 1992. Respondent testified that he is a practicing anesthesiologist, employed since 1989 with Blackhawk Anesthesiologists in Waterloo, Iowa. His gross income was $21,587 per month in 1992. Before that, his gross annual income was approximately as follows: $298,688 in 1991; $132,584 in 1990; and $60,000 in 1989. Prior to 1989, respondent had been in residency training, earning $24,000 annually. When respondent completed his residency in 1989, he began paying $500 per month for child support pursuant to an oral agreement between the parties.

Respondent is married with a six-year-old son. His wife is a school teacher who earns $40,000 annually. The monthly living expenses for respondent and his family are $6,563. His assets include over $80,000, which is invested in stocks and bonds, a money purchase plan, and a retirement fund. Respondent has a third child outside of the marriage for whom he pays $150 per month in support pursuant to a court order.

Petitioner testified that she is a school teacher, employed since 1976 with the Board of Education, City of Chicago, earning a base salary of $41,000 per year. Every two years she works overtime and her income increases to $50,000. Petitioner listed her total monthly expenses as $5,120. She listed her daughter's current monthly expenses as $2,938, a substantial increase from 1986 when the daughter's expenses were $656 per month. Petitioner owns a two-unit apartment building in which she and her daughter reside. She has no other assets, and lists personal debts amounting to $23,600.

On December 17, 1992, the parties through their attorneys, advised the circuit court that they had agreed on a settlement of the child support issue. Accordingly, the court entered an agreed order which provides in relevant part:

"This matter having come on for hearing pursuant to Geanese Perry's Petition for Increase in Child Support, the court having commenced trial in this cause, and the parties having deemed it in the best interest of the parties and their child, the court being duly advised in the premises, by agreement of the parties,

IT IS ORDERED that

(1) Webster Clayton III shall pay to Genease Perry the sum of $1,200 per month commencing January 1, 1993 as and for child support."

Both petitioner and respondent signed the agreed order.

Subsequently, the court denied petitioner's pro se motion to vacate the agreed order on grounds that the child support award was contrary to the "prescribed law" requiring respondent to pay 20% of his income as child support. The court also denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the child support award, which claimed ...


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