In re MARRIAGE OF THERESA O'HARE, Petitioner-Appellee, and RONALD G. STRADT, Respondent-Appellant.
from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 09D386 Honorable
Jennifer M. Ascher, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Holder White and Appleton concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In March 2010, the trial court dissolved the marriage of
petitioner, Theresa O'Hare, and respondent, Ronald G.
Stradt. In its dissolution order, the court granted Stradt
parenting time with the parties' minor child (born August
31, 2006) on every other Tuesday evening and every other
Wednesday evening through Friday morning.
2 In August 2016, Stradt filed a motion to modify parenting
time, seeking to forego parenting time on Tuesdays in
exchange for parenting time on every Wednesday and Thursday,
which represented a 6% increase in his parenting time. In
response, O'Hare filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to
section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Civil Code)
(735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)). Following a September 2016
hearing, the trial court granted O'Hare's motion and
dismissed Stradt's motion to modify parenting time.
Specifically, the court found that Stradt's request was
not a "minor modification" as contemplated by
section 610.5(e)(2) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution
of Marriage Act (Dissolution Act) (750 ILCS 5/610.5(e)(2)
(West Supp. 2015)), which the legislature had recently
3 Stradt appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by
granting O'Hare's motion to dismiss. Specifically,
Stradt contends that the court (1) failed to "accept as
true all well-pleaded facts, and all reasonable inferences
that may be drawn from those facts, " when considering
O'Hare's motion to dismiss, and (2) did not properly
apply the rules of statutory construction when interpreting
what Stradt characterizes as the "ambiguous" term
"minor modification." We affirm.
4 I. BACKGROUND
5 In May 2008, O'Hare and Stradt married, and the parties
had a minor child. Their marriage was dissolved in March
2010, and pursuant to the dissolution order, Stradt was
allocated the following parenting time:
"(1) *** alternat[ing] weekends *** beginning from
Friday afternoon until Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. ***
(2)*** [Stradt] shall be entitled to mid-week visitation on
the Tuesday nights before his weekend visitations from
4:30-5:00 p.m. until Wednesday morning *** no later than 9:00
(3)during the weeks in which he does not have weekend
visitation, [Stradt] shall have visitation on Wednesday from
4:30-5:00 p.m. until *** no later than 9:00 a.m. on
and school breaks were reasonably and equally divided between
the parties. The arrangement allocated 56% of the parenting
time to O'Hare, while Stradt was allocated the remaining
44% of the parenting time.
6 In December 2015, Stradt filed his first motion to modify
parenting responsibilities, seeking "sole custody"
of the parties' minor child, subject to O'Hare's
reasonable visitation. In January 2016, O'Hare filed a
motion to increase Stradt's child-support obligations,
citing a substantial increase in his income as the basis for
the motion. The trial court ordered the parties to mediate
these issues and scheduled a March 2016 hearing. The
mediation was unsuccessful. (O'Hare's January 2016
filing is not at issue in this appeal.)
7 In March and April 2016, the parties filed individual
parenting plans. Stradt sought, inter alia, sole
decision-making responsibilities and parenting time on
alternating weekends and every Monday and Tuesday evening.
O'Hare urged the trial court to find that no legal basis
was shown for a modification to the original parenting plan
and requested that the original plan remain in place.
O'Hare also filed a motion to dismiss Stradt's
December 2015 motion to modify parental responsibilities.
8 At a May 2016 hearing, the trial court granted Stradt leave
to file an amended motion to modify parental
responsibilities, which Stradt filed immediately thereafter.
Stradt's amended motion sought sole decision-making
responsibilities and equal parenting time, characterizing his
request as a "minor modification" pursuant to
section 610.5(e)(2) of the Dissolution Act. In response,
O'Hare filed a motion to dismiss Stradt's amended
motion, arguing that (1) the parenting plan had been modified
within the preceding two years, and therefore, it could not
be modified absent a stipulation between the parties; and (2)