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In re Marriage of Eckersall

Supreme Court of Illinois

January 23, 2015


Pamela Hutul, Benton Page and Errol Zavett, of Davis Friedman, LLP, of Chicago, for appellant.

Tracy M. Rizzo, of Law Offices of Tracy M. Rizzo, P.C., of Chicago, for appellee.

Gregg Flitcraft, of Olson, Grabill & Flitcraft, and Howard P. Rosenberg, of Law Offices of Howard Rosenberg, all of Northbrook, child representative.

Michael G. DiDomenico, of Lake Toback, and Paul L. Feinstein, all of Chicago, for amicus curiae Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Thomas, Kilbride, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.



Page 743

[¶1] This appeal arises from an interlocutory order entered during a proceeding to dissolve the marriage of Raymond and Catherine Eckersall. That order restricted the parties' dealings and communication with their children during the dissolution of marriage proceeding. The appellate court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, finding that the interim order was not an injunction and thus not appealable pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 307(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010). 2014 IL App. (1st) 132223, 382 Ill.Dec. 551, 12 N.E.3d 830. This court allowed Catherine's petition for leave to appeal (Ill. S.Ct. R. 315(a) (eff. July 1, 2013)). For the following reasons, we dismiss the appeal as moot.


[¶3] Raymond filed a petition for dissolution of marriage to Catherine in the circuit court of Cook County on February 25, 2013. The petition included a request for joint custody of the couple's three children who were then ages 13, 10 and 8. By

Page 744

agreement of the parties, the circuit court appointed attorney Howard Rosenberg to represent the children pursuant to section 506(a)(3) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/506(a)(3) (West 2012)). On March 21, 2013, Raymond filed a petition to set a temporary parenting schedule, stating that he and Catherine had been unable to reach an agreement on visitation. The court set the matter for a hearing on June 24, 2013, at which time " [t]he parties shall enter a parenting order (enjoining discussion of court/case related issues with the children)." On that date, the matter was continued to July 10, 2013, " for the entry of a custody/visitation injunctive order." That order further provided that " [i]f the parties cannot reach an agreement on the terms of said order, the court shall set the terms."

[¶4] At the July 10, 2013, hearing, Rosenberg informed the court that the parties had agreed on a visitation schedule, but had failed to agree on the terms and conditions of visitation. Rosenberg presented the court with a proposed " form" order that he referred to as a " prophylactic" order. Catherine objected to the order as a whole on the basis that it infringed on her right to parent and communicate with her children. The court entered the order that day over Catherine's objection.

[¶5] The July 10, 2013, order, which is at issue here, was entitled " Custody/Visitation Injunction Order." The order " restrain[ed] and enjoin[ed]" the parties from: (1) beating, striking, threatening or in any way interfering with the personal liberty of the children; (2) discussing any aspect of the pending litigation in the presence of the children, including custody, visitation, support, grounds for dissolution, monetary/financial information and court dates; (3) questioning and/or discussing with the children their preferences as to custody and/or visitation; (4) questioning, discussing, rehearsing, and/or coaching the minor children with regard to court testimony, interviews with the court, mediators, interveners, attorneys, investigators, social workers, or any other person related to the dissolution proceeding; (5) questioning, discussing, examining and/or interrogating the children with regard to the conduct, habits, social activities, monetary expenditures and purchases of the other party; (6) engaging in all forms of audio and/or video recording or any other form of electronic surveillance of the other party and/or of the children; (7) using or consuming alcohol and/or nonprescription drugs while in the presence of the children; (8) permitting and/or allowing an unrelated member of the opposite sex to reside on an overnight basis in a party's residence while the ...

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