In re MARRIAGE OF FREDERICK H. PLATT, JR., Petitioner, and MELISSA A. PLATT, Respondent and Third-Party Petitioner-Appellant Stacy Hux, Third-Party Respondent-Appellee
from the Circuit Court PLATT, JR., of Lake County, No.
11-D-837. Honorable Patricia S. Fix, Judge, Presiding.
J. McKeown and Joseph C. McKeown, both of Denis J. McKeown
& Associates, of Waukegan, for appellant.
Douglas, of Law Offices of Dwayne Douglas, P.C., of Lake
Bluff, for appellee.
SPENCE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Schostok and Justice Zenoff concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Melissa A. Platt appeals from an order
denying a motion in which she sought enforcement of the
pension provisions of the marital settlement agreement (MSA)
that was part of the dissolution judgment ending her marriage
to Frederick H. Platt, Jr. Specifically, her motion sought
entry of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).
Third-party respondent Stacy Hux, Frederick's surviving
spouse, moved to " dismiss" the motion on the basis
that Frederick's death had stripped the court of
jurisdiction over the matter. Stacy now argues that, because
the court neither explicitly bifurcated the action nor
reserved the issue of entry of a QDRO, at Frederick's
death no final dissolution judgment existed and the
dissolution action therefore abated. We hold that the
dissolution judgment was final and enforceable despite the
absence of the QDRO needed to effect the pension
distribution, and thus we hold that Melissa was entitled to
enforce the MSA. We therefore reverse the denial of
Melissa's motion and remand the matter for enforcement of
the MSA's pension provisions by appropriate available
[¶3] Frederick filed his petition for the
dissolution of the marriage on April 21, 2011, and Melissa
responded. On October 31, 2012, Melissa filed a petition
seeking to join Stacy, with whom Frederick was then living,
as a party. The petition noted that, on October 5, 2012,
Frederick had suffered a traumatic brain injury in a
motorcycle accident and was disabled. Stacy agreed to be
joined and filed her appearance on December 5, 2012.
[¶4] On January 24, 2013, a motion filed by
Melissa noted that, in a separate case, the court had
appointed temporary guardians of Frederick's estate and
person. The court entered the judgment for dissolution of
marriage on April 3, 2013. This incorporated the MSA, which
provided that the parties would equally divide the marital
portion of Frederick's United States government pensions.
Further, Frederick would act to cause the filing of all
documents or orders needed to accomplish that result; in
other words, he would cooperate in the drafting and filing of
a QDRO. The dissolution judgment contained a finding of
immediate enforceability and appealability under Illinois
Supreme Court Rule 304(a) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
[¶5] On September 16, 2014, Melissa filed an
" Emergency Motion to Enter a Federal Employee's
Retirement Order Pursuant to 5 CFR Section 838." She
stated that Frederick had died in a skydiving accident, but
that the parties had not yet completed the paperwork
necessary to have Frederick's pensions divided as
required by the MSA. She alleged that, absent the order,
Stacy, who had married Frederick, would be treated as
Frederick's surviving spouse in the pension distribution.
[¶6] Stacy moved to " dismiss" the
motion under section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure
(Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2014)). She asserted that,
because Frederick was dead, the court lacked personal
jurisdiction over him and thus could not order the relevant
modification to the distribution of his pensions. She further
asserted that the court could not issue any orders to the
relevant federal agency. Finally, she asserted that, because