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In re Marriage of Linta

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

September 17, 2014

In re MARRIAGE OF TARA LINTA, Petitioner-Appellant, and WARREN LINTA, Respondent-Appellee

Page 567

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 12-D-257. Honorable David P. Kliment and Kevin T. Busch, Judges, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

In postjudgment proceedings with respect to a divorce initially entered in Nevada with a judgment that incorporated a marital settlement agreement including a prevailing-party provision regarding attorney fees, and then the judgment was registered as an Illinois judgment, the trial court, after considering petitions brought by both parties, did not abuse its discretion in requiring each party to pay his or her own attorney fees, where the court could have concluded that neither party " prevailed" and section 502(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act did not bind the court to follow the prevailing-party provision when the proceedings involved the care and custody of minors.

For APPELLANT: Robert D. Felker, Felker & Reganti, Chicago, IL.

No brief filed for appellee.

JUSTICE HUTCHINSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Zenoff and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HUTCHINSON, JUSTICE.

Page 568

[¶1] In 2011, a Nevada court entered a judgment that dissolved the marriage between petitioner, Tara Linta, and respondent, Warren Linta. The dissolution judgment incorporated a marital settlement agreement, which contained a prevailing-party provision with respect to attorney fees (prevailing-party provision). Thereafter, the parties and their minor children relocated to Illinois and the Nevada judgment was registered as an Illinois judgment. Following various petitions brought by both parties, the trial court denied petitioner's request for attorney fees pursuant to the prevailing-party provision. Petitioner now appeals, contending that the trial court erred in denying her request for fees. We affirm.

[¶2] The record reflects that, on August 1, 2011, the circuit court of Washoe County, Nevada, entered a judgment for dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and respondent. The judgment incorporated a marital settlement agreement, which included the prevailing-party provision: " In any action arising hereunder, or any separate action pertaining to the validity of this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs."

[¶3] Thereafter, both parties moved to Kane County with their two minor children. On February 21, 2012, petitioner filed petitions in the trial court to enroll the judgment of the Nevada court, modify child support, and modify visitation. On April 12, 2012, the trial court entered an agreed order that enrolled and entered the Nevada judgment.

[¶4] On April 27, 2012, respondent responded to petitioner's child-support and visitation modification petitions, asking that the court deny them. On May 30, 2012, petitioner filed a petition for temporary child support, requesting that respondent increase his payments to 28% of his net income due to a wage increase.

[¶5] On June 11, 2012, the trial court ordered the parties to mediate the visitation issue. The parties reached an agreement through mediation on July 16, 2012. In the interim, respondent petitioned to remove the action to Nevada or have the trial court apply Nevada law to the pending petitions, pursuant to a removal and choice-of-law provision in the marital settlement agreement. Additionally, on July 9, 2012, respondent filed his response to the petition for temporary child support asking the court to ...


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