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In re Marriage of Rocha

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

April 15, 2015

In re MARRIAGE OF LORI ROCHA, n/k/a Lori Jenco, Petitioner-Appellee, and STEPHEN ROCHA, Respondent-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 97-D-9725. Honorable David Garcia Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed and remanded with directions.

Jennifer Lynch and David A. June, both of June, Prodehl, Renzi & Lynch, LLC, of Joliet, for appellant.

No brief filed for appellee.

JUSTICE WRIGHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holdridge and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

Page 1199

OPINION

WRIGHT, JUSTICE.

[¶1] The 1998 " Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage" involving petitioner, Lori Rocha, and respondent, Stephen Rocha, required Stephen to pay child support to Lori in the amount of $150 per week. Fifteen years later, the trial court entered a written order granting Lori's 2012 petition under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2012)) to vacate prior court orders based on the court's finding that Stephen fraudulently concealed his income and employment from the court beginning in 2003.

[¶2] First, Stephen appeals the finding of fraud. Second, while Stephen agrees the amount of child support was recalculated using accurate income information beginning in 2003, he challenges the trial court's order requiring him to pay support prior to Lori's 2010 petition to increase support and interest on the unpaid support, as recalculated from May 12, 2003, to December 31, 2012. We affirm and remand with directions.

[¶3] FACTS

[¶4] I. Judgment of Dissolution and Child Support

[¶5] On May 22, 1998, the trial court entered a " Judgment for Dissolution of

Page 1200

Marriage" dissolving the marriage between Lori and Stephen. The judgment ordered Stephen to pay child support for the parties' minor child in the amount of $150 per week, based on the statutory guidelines for Stephen's earning capacity as determined by the court at that time. According to the judgment, Stephen accrued a child support arrearage in the amount of $1,056, which was to be paid at the rate of $50 per week.[1]

[¶6] On January 18, 2001, Stephen filed a pro se motion to reduce child support alleging he applied for unemployment benefits. One week later, on January 25, 2001, the court reduced Stephen's child support payments to $74.40 per week due to his unemployment status.

[¶7] On April 27, 2001, Lori filed a section 2-1401 petition seeking to vacate the January 25, 2001, order reducing Stephen's child support payment to $74.40 per week. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 (West 2000). Lori's section 2-1401 petition alleged Stephen failed to advise the court that his prior employer, Ford Motor Company, was supplementing his unemployment benefits, such that Stephen continued to receive approximately 95% of his previous weekly pay. On May 16, 2001, the court entered an agreed order vacating the January 25, 2001, order reducing Stephen's child support and ordered Stephen to resume paying child support at the rate of $150 per week, the amount of child support ordered by the court in the 1998 judgment of dissolution.

[¶8] II. 2002 Contempt Proceedings for Nonpayment of Child Support

[¶9] Approximately 18 months later, on October 24, 2002, Lori filed a " Petition for Rule to Show Cause," alleging Stephen failed to pay support as ordered by the court at the rate of $150 per week, resulting in an arrearage exceeding $11,000. On December 10, 2002, the court found Stephen in indirect civil contempt and ordered him to pay the full amount of $13,689.16 by December 13, 2002, to purge the finding of contempt.

[¶10] On December 16, 2002, Stephen tendered a check in the amount of $5,000 to be applied to the $13,689.16 purge amount and advised the court he was employed by Vector Corporation. The court continued the matter to January 31, 2003, for " sentencing/purge" and ordered Stephen to ...


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