Appeal from the Circuit Court of the Cook County. No. 92-D-3050041. Honorable Marven T. Ruttenberg, Karen T. Tobin, and Nicholas T. Pomaro, Judges Presiding.
The Honorable Justice Cerda delivered the opinion of the court: Rizzi, J., and Greiman, J., Concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cerda
JUSTICE CERDA delivered the opinion of the court:
Defendant, Michael Gorzelanczyk, appeals from several Cook County circuit court orders, including a finding of paternity and an order of parentage and temporary child support. Although defendant raises a number of issues on appeal, we conclude that the orders from which he appealed were not final and appealable. For that reason, we dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
On March 11, 1992, plaintiff, Mary Baldassone, filed a verified complaint seeking a judicial determination that defendant is the natural father of her son, Nicholas Baldassone, born on August 22, 1990. In addition, she requested that defendant be ordered to pay child support, retroactive child support, and medical insurance.
Following a bench trial, the trial court ruled that defendant was not the biological father of plaintiff's child, then granted plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, which alleged that the trial court did not follow the applicable law. On August 11, 1994, the trial court reversed its earlier ruling on the basis that the blood test indicated that defendant was the presumed father and that defendant did not rebut that presumption by clear and convincing evidence. The matter was continued for a status hearing and was subsequently transferred to another courtroom for hearings on the issues of child support and medical insurance.
When plaintiff filed her request for defendant's financial information, he moved to quash the subpoena duces tecum on the ground that there was no prior finding of paternity. Defendant argued that the trial court's August 11, 1994, order was not a final order because the circuit court had concluded that the case was over without a finding that defendant was the father. Therefore, post-judgment relief could not be obtained.
We first consider whether the August 11, 1994 order, the October 27, 1994, order, and the February 2, 1995, order of parentage and temporary child support were final judgments appealable under Supreme Court Rule 301. 155 Ill. 2d R. 301.
The August 11, 1994, order stated:
(1) Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider is granted; (2) the court finds that defendant is presumed to be the father of plaintiff's child and defendant failed to produce clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption; and (3) the court reverses its prior finding for the defendant. This matter is continued to 10-27-94 at 9:00 a.m. for status."
The October 27, 1994, order merely transferred the case to another courtroom for a hearing on the issues of support and medical coverage, and the February 2, 1995, order of parentage and temporary child support expressly reserved ruling on retroactive child support and medical insurance. Because the temporary child support order expressly continued the matter for a determination of permanent child support, it was not a final order and could not be appealed on an interlocutory basis before the entry of a final child support order. In re Marriage of Dunseth, 260 Ill. App. 3d 816, 827, 633 N.E.2d 82, 198 Ill. Dec. 620 (1994).
Appellate court jurisdiction is limited to reviewing a final judgment, which terminates the litigation and disposes of the parties' rights on either the entire controversy or some definite and separate part of it. In re Marriage of Verdung, 126 Ill. 2d 542, 553, 535 N.E.2d 818, 129 Ill. Dec. 53 (1989); People ex rel. Block v. Darm, 267 Ill. App. 3d 354, 355, 642 N.E.2d 863, 204 Ill. Dec. 962 (1994). The entry of a paternity order and a determination of child support are the two basic orders needed to complete a paternity action because they ensure that the child will not lack for support. Watkins v. Martin, 115 Ill. App. 3d 417, 419, 450 N.E.2d 866, 71 Ill. Dec. 178 (1983). For that reason, an order establishing paternity is not a final judgment if it does not at least rule on the amount of child support for which the defendant is liable. Franson v. Micelli, 172 Ill. 2d 352, 217 Ill. Dec. 250, 666 N.E.2d 1188, (1996); Deckard v. Joiner, 44 Ill. 2d 412, 417, 255 N.E.2d 900 (1970); Virzint v. Beranek, 85 Ill. App. 3d 919, 922, 407 N.E.2d 701, 41 Ill. Dec. 203 (1980).
In addition to current child support, retroactive child support and health insurance are matters of substantial controversy between the parties, not merely ancillary or incidental. Franson v. Micelli, 172 Ill. 2d 352, 217 Ill. Dec. 250, 666 N.E.2d 1188, (1996). Therefore, even a child support order is not a final judgment pursuant to Rule 301 (155 Ill. 2d R. 301) if the trial court has reserved the issues of retroactive child support and medical ...