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Skelton v. Skelton

September 01, 2004

IN RE MARRIAGE OF JEFFREY D. SKELTON, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
ALESHA M. SKELTON, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 04-D-116. Honorable Lewis E. Mallott, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Kuehn

PUBLISHED

Jeffrey D. Skelton (Jeffrey) appeals from the trial court's April 19, 2004, order denying a portion of his request for a temporary and permanent injunction and reserving its ruling on all matters pertaining to the Skeltons' unborn child.

Jeffrey and Alesha M. Skelton (Alesha) were married in Texas on June 13, 2002. Following the marriage, the Skeltons resided in Madison County. Jeffrey and Alesha separated on or about January 9, 2004. At that time, Alesha was two months pregnant. Apparently, while Jeffrey was at work and without his advance knowledge, Alesha moved out of the marital home, returning to Texas.

Jeffrey filed a petition for a dissolution of the marriage on February 3, 2004, in Madison County. In this petition, he requested custody of the unborn child. In response, Alesha filed a special and limited appearance denying that the State of Illinois had subject matter jurisdiction relative to her unborn child and his or her future custody. In her supporting affidavit, Alesha averred that she planned to give birth to and raise this child in Texas.

Thereafter, on April 13, 2004, Jeffrey filed a motion for a temporary and permanent injunction, asking the court for the following relief:

1. To order Alesha to move back to Illinois until the unborn child's delivery and until a temporary custody determination can be made.

2. To order Alesha to provide advance notice of the location and time of the delivery.

3. To restrict Alesha from naming the unborn child until a determination could be made regarding Jeffrey's rights to name the unborn child.

4. To enjoin Alesha after the child's birth from bringing the child around her aunt and uncle.

5. To order Alesha to provide Jeffrey with all relevant information regarding the pregnancy and her personal contact information.

On April 19, 2004, the trial court held a hearing on this motion and on Alesha's previously filed special and limited appearance in response to the dissolution petition. At the hearing, Alesha's attorney argued that the court could not make rulings relative to the unborn child because the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court determined that it had jurisdiction over the parties to the dissolution proceeding-Jeffrey and Alesha-and over the marital property. Turning to the matter of the unborn child, the court noted that the State of Illinois does not consider an unborn child as a child for purposes of the relative marital dissolution statutes. Consequently, the court ordered Alesha to file an answer to the petition for dissolution regarding all matters except the issues involving the unborn child. The court stated that it would retain jurisdiction over the child custody matter when it became ripe for adjudication. Specifically addressing the request for injunctive relief, the court denied the request to order Alesha to move back to Illinois. In so ruling, the court noted that we now live in a mobile society and that there was no basis upon which it could order her return. The court reserved its ruling with respect to all the remaining matters, finding that in this situation the State of Illinois simply did not recognize the unborn child as a child. In so ruling, the court acknowledged that, after the birth, some of the matters raised by Jeffrey would probably not be relevant.

From the transcript of this hearing, we know that the baby's due date was July 27, 2004. From a motion filed after the case was argued on appeal, we know that the Skelton baby boy ...


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