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In re Marriage of Hodges

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

April 24, 2018

In re MARRIAGE OF CORTNIE M. HODGES, Petitioner-Appellant, and TODD HODGES, Respondent-Appellee.

          Rule 23 order filed March 22, 2018

          Motion to publish granted April 24, 2018.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Clinton County. No. 04-D-4 Honorable William J. Becker, Judge, presiding.

          Attorneys for Appellant Douglas C. Gruenke, J.D. Brandmeyer, Bruckert, Gruenke & Long, P.C.

          Attorney for Appellee Timothy T. Raw, Barkau & Unverfehrt, P.C.,

          Intervenor- Petitioner Ann C. Maskaleris, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Illinois Attorney General,

          JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Welch and Moore concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          GOLDENHERSH JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Petitioner, Cortnie M. Hodges, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Clinton County that reduced the child support arrearage of her ex-husband, respondent, Todd Hodges, on the basis of equitable estoppel. The issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in applying the principles of equitable estoppel to the facts and circumstances of this case. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 In this appeal, respondent filed a motion to strike petitioner's brief. While we agree that petitioner failed to include some pertinent facts, we deny the motion to strike.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 The parties married on July 22, 1995. Two children were born during the marriage, a son born on January 16, 1996, and a daughter born on September 5, 1998. Petitioner filed a petition for dissolution on January 26, 2004. A marital settlement agreement was filed with the trial court and was incorporated into the judgment for dissolution entered on September 28, 2004. The parties agreed respondent would pay petitioner $788 per month in child support.

         ¶ 5 On August 23, 2006, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Department) notified the circuit clerk that it was providing child support enforcement services in conjunction with this case. On August 27, 2006, the Department filed a petition to intervene, which was granted. The Department, through an assistant attorney general, filed a petition for adjudication of indirect civil contempt, alleging that respondent was in arrears in the amount of $9483.60, of which $744.36 was interest as of September 30, 2006.

         ¶ 6 A hearing on the petition was scheduled for November 15, 2006. Both parties appeared and discussions ensued. The parties disagree as to what transpired; however, the record is clear that the assistant attorney general drafted a uniform order of support, which showed an arrearage of $8400 as of that date. The child support payment is filled in as $330 and payment on the arrearage was set at $50. It stated that both payments were to be made every other week beginning December 1, 2006. The order was never entered. The only order entered on that date was an order stating, "Based on [petitioner] opting out of the IV-D program and at her request, the Rule to Show Cause filed herein on Oct. 27, 2006 is hereby ...


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