In re MARRIAGE OF KRIS M. IZZO, Petitioner-Appellee, and ROBERT J. IZZO, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 07-D-2
Honorable Robert E. Douglas, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE JORGENSEN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Zenoff and Burke concurred in the judgment
1 In August 2017, respondent, Robert J. Izzo, petitioned to
reduce his $6500 monthly child-support obligation to
petitioner, Kris M. Izzo. He argued that a substantial change
in circumstances had occurred since the entry of the most
recent support judgment, which was the original judgment
dissolving the parties' marriage nine years prior. Robert
set forth the following bases for a substantial change: (1)
he had increased his share of overnight custody from 15% to
45%; (2) Kris had experienced an increase in wealth and
income; and (3) he was forced to retire and is no longer
earning income from employment. The court rejected each of
these bases, explaining that (1) Robert's increased share
of custody was too remote, having occurred five years after
the original judgment but four years before the petition to
modify; (2) Kris's increase in wealth was anticipated at
the time of the original judgment; and (3) Robert's
retirement was entirely voluntary. Robert appeals.
2 We hold that the trial court made an error of law when it
found the change in custody to be too remote to constitute a
substantial change in circumstances. The circumstances at the
time of a petition to modify must be measured against the
circumstances at the time of the most recent support
judgment, not against the circumstances at some time between
the two events. The change in custody alone is enough to
establish a substantial change in circumstances justifying a
reduction in the child-support amount. Therefore, we need not
consider the additive effects, if any, of the other changes
Robert alleged to establish a substantial change. We reverse
the trial court's judgment and remand for a determination
of the proper child-support amount in light of the change in
custody. On remand, in setting the new support amount, the
trial court can consider Kris's, as well as Robert's,
wealth and Robert's retirement.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 Robert and Kris married in 1988. They had three sons: R.I.
(born in 1990), E.I. (born in 1994), and B.I. (born in 2004).
Kris petitioned for divorce in 2007, and the trial court
entered a judgment of dissolution in August 2008, which
incorporated the parties' marital settlement agreement
and joint parenting agreement. At the time of the divorce,
Robert worked for Chase Bank and earned $1.6 million annually
from employment. In some, but not all, of the years
immediately preceding the divorce, his income from all
sources exceeded $2 million annually. Kris did not work
outside the home, although she had previously worked as an
5 The marital estate contained approximately $10 million in
assets. The dissolution judgment ordered a 60/40 split in
Kris's favor of $7.5 million in nonretirement assets and
a 50/50 split of $2.5 million in retirement assets. Thus,
Kris's property award was approximately $5.75 million and
Robert's was approximately $4.25 million.
6 In addition, Robert paid Kris an $850, 000 lump sum in lieu
of maintenance. The judgment noted that the lump sum would
further enable Kris to support herself. It also instructed
that each party was to inform the other of his or her place
7 The judgment set forth the following custody arrangement.
R.I., who was 17 and nearly emancipated, lived primarily with
Robert. E.I., who was 14, split his time equally with both
parents, both of whom lived in Naperville. B.I., who was 4,
spent 12 of 14 nights with Kris and the other 2 with Robert.
B.I. also spent Wednesday evenings (with no overnights) and
alternating Saturday afternoons with Robert.
8 The judgment ordered Robert to pay Kris $6500 monthly in
child support, for B.I. only. The judgment reserved the
question of support as to R.I. and E.I. Robert was solely
responsible for providing all of the children with health
insurance and paying for extraordinary medical expenses. The
parties were to equally split costs associated with ordinary
medical expenses, education, extracurricular activities, and
child care. Each party would be responsible for day-today
costs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, when a child was
in his or her home.
9 In September 2008, Robert moved to reconsider the judgment.
He alleged that, after the judgment was entered, his
supervisor at Chase informed him that he would not be
retained in his present position. Either he would lose his
job entirely or he would be placed in a new position with a
substantial reduction in income. The trial court denied the
motion. Robert appealed. See In re Marriage of Izzo,
No. 2-08-0934 (2009) (unpublished order under Illinois
Supreme Court Rule 23). This court affirmed, holding that the
information concerning Robert's potential change in
employment was not evidence but was in the nature of an
opinion. Id. at 4. Thus, the original judgment
remained in effect.
10 In 2010, Robert "was separated from" his
employment with Chase. A former coworker at Chase was then
running a risk group at Freddie Mac, and she helped him
obtain employment there. Robert's annual income from
employment at Freddie Mac was approximately $1 million.
Robert did not seek a reduction in child support due to a
reduction in income.
11 Robert's office at Freddie Mac was located in
Virginia. He arranged a commuter schedule that allowed him to
continue living in Naperville, so that he could continue to
be heavily involved in his children's lives. One week, he
worked from home in Naperville and the next week, he worked
three to four days in Virginia The schedule caused no
disruption to his custody arrangement. After working for
Freddie Mac for two years, Robert was granted even more
flexibility. He worked in Virginia just two days every other
12 In 2012, Robert petitioned to modify custody as to B.I.,
then age 8. Because Robert sought to be the primary
custodian, he also sought to cancel his child-support
obligation. However, in 2013, Robert withdrew his
petition, as well as his request concerning support, and the
parties entered into a settlement agreement concerning
custody. Pursuant to the agreement, B.I. spent 6 of every 14
nights with Robert, amounting to a 43/57 custodial split.
Accounting for certain holidays and vacations, the split was
closer to 45/55. The new custody order expressly ...