In re MARRIAGE OF PAMELA CAMPBELL, Petitioner-Appellant, and DONALD F. CAMPBELL, Deceased, Respondent Janet Campbell, Beneficiary-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of Du Page County, No. 07-D-114
Honorable Robert E. Douglas, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Burke and Schostok concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Petitioner, Pamela Campbell, placed a lien for unpaid child
support on property that was held in trust for the benefit of
her ex-husband, Donald. After Donald's death, the
subsequent beneficiary of the trust, Donald's mother,
Janet Campbell, successfully moved to have the trial court
release the lien. Pamela now appeals from the trial
court's order granting the release of the lien. We
reverse and remand for further proceedings.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 The marriage of Donald and Pamela Campbell was dissolved in
2009. Donald and Pamela were awarded joint custody of their
three daughters, with residential custody awarded to Pamela.
Pursuant to the judgment of dissolution, Donald was ordered
to pay unallocated child support and maintenance to Pamela.
In addition, Donald was to reimburse Pamela for the cost of
medical insurance, which she maintained through her
employment, and provide proof of life insurance with the
children named as beneficiaries.
4 In April 2011, the trial court ordered the cessation of the
unallocated child support and maintenance, pursuant to the
judgment of dissolution. Donald was to pay child support for
their youngest child only, in an amount to be determined at a
future hearing. In addition, the reimbursement for medical
insurance was to be resolved at that future date. Evidence of
the required life insurance was provided.
5 In June 2011, the trial court set the child support
obligation at $1, 012 per month, retroactive to April 1.
However, the issue of reimbursement for medical insurance
premiums was reserved for a future date.
6 In April 2012, Pamela petitioned the trial court for a rule
to show cause. Donald was ordered to explain his failure to
provide proof of life insurance annually and to pay child
support. The trial court found Donald in contempt for failing
to provide proof of life insurance to Pamela. Donald was
given the opportunity to purge the contempt by bringing proof
of insurance to court on May 23. However, on May 12, Pamela
filed another petition for a rule to show cause, alleging
that Donald had failed to (1) pay child support in the amount
of $15, 005.42, (2) pay medical insurance premiums of $6,
960, (3) release some funds to help with college tuition, and
(4) divide certain marital assets. Donald failed to appear at
the next court date, and a writ of body attachment was
7 Pamela then sought a temporary restraining order
restraining Donald from withdrawing funds from his retirement
account. She also sought payment of more than $17, 000 in
past-due child support and the release of an investment
account to pay for college expenses. Donald appeared in
court, and the matter was set for hearing on July 20, 2012.
After that hearing, Donald was purged of the contempt
regarding life insurance coverage. He was also ordered to
cash out certain life insurance policies for payment of
college expenses; to direct that certain investments be
rolled over into Pamela's account, pursuant to the
marital settlement agreement; and to make reasonable efforts
to find employment or pursue Social Security benefits for his
mental illness. The court found that Donald owed $15, 005.42
in past-due child support.
8 In the meantime, Pamela recorded a lien on Donald's
home at 1032 W. 32nd Street in Chicago (the property) in the
amount of $24, 530 as of June 26, 2012, for unpaid child
support and medical insurance. The amount would increase by
$1, 265 per month. The property had been awarded to Donald in
the judgment of dissolution and was the res of a
Chicago Land Trust Company land trust. Pamela certified that
she mailed a copy of the lien claim to Donald by certified
mail, return receipt requested, on June 26.
9 Donald died in July 2013. On November 7, 2016, Janet, as
executor of his estate, filed an emergency motion to release
Pamela's lien. Janet alleged that, in attempting to sell
the property, she discovered Pamela's lien, which
prevented the sale to a bona fide purchaser who was
ready and able to buy the property. According to Janet, there
was no court order finding an arrearage against Donald of
$24, 530, as the lien claimed; the court had found an
arrearage of only $15, 005.42 and had never entered a
judgment setting an arrearage amount for Pamela to record
against the property. In addition, there was no court order
under which Donald was required to contribute to medical
insurance premiums. Finally, Donald had made payments toward
his arrearage, and a review of the child support account
maintained by the Du Page County circuit court clerk for this
case provided that Donald had no child support arrearage.
Thus, Janet sought an order requiring Pamela to execute a
release of the lien or entering a judicial release of the
lien. Per the notice of motion, the case was set for November
10 Pamela failed to appear on November 10. The trial court
found that there was nothing in the court file or record
indicating an arrearage of $24, 530; "at best, "
the court file showed an arrearage of $15, 005.42 as of July
20, 2012. In addition, a certified child support account
summary from the office of the circuit court clerk showed a
zero balance owed. Therefore, the trial court granted the
emergency motion. One week later, on Pamela's motion, the
default order of November 10 was vacated; Pamela was given
one week to respond to the emergency motion, and the case was
set for hearing.
11 Janet filed a petition to join her as a necessary party
and for leave to file an appearance, which the trial court
granted on January 27, 2017. The trial court also ordered
Janet to file any responsive ...