In re MARRIAGE OF LISA M. DAVIS, Petitioner-Appellee, and CALEB A. DAVIS, Respondent-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 11-D-494 The Honorable David
Garcia, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Caleb A. Davis, of Dallas, Texas,
appellant pro se.
Attorneys for Appellee: Marc A. Bangser and Bradford L.
Bennett, of Bennett & Bangser, LLC, of Chicago, for
JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Carter and Wright concurred in the judgment
1 The petitioner, Lisa M. Davis, sought an increase to the
child support she was being paid by the respondent, Caleb A.
Davis. After the circuit court granted the petition, Caleb
appealed. On appeal, he argues that (1) the court lacked
subject-matter jurisdiction to modify the child-support
order, (2) the court erred when it ordered him to contribute
toward Lisa's attorney fees, and (3) the court erred when
it denied his motion for a protective order. We affirm.
3 Initially, we note that Caleb's statement of facts is
replete with argument and omissions such that we choose to
strike it as violative of Illinois Supreme Court Rule
341(h)(6) (eff. July 1, 2017), which requires a statement of
facts that includes "the facts necessary to an
understanding of the case, stated accurately and fairly
without argument or comment."
4 The parties were married in May 2004 and divorced in
December 2011. Pursuant to an agreed custody judgment, Lisa
was given residential custody of the parties' two
children, who were born in 2008 and 2010. Pursuant to the
marital settlement agreement, Caleb agreed to pay Lisa
$1183.97 per month in child support, which totaled
approximately 16.33% of his monthly income. This agreement
was made in part due to Caleb agreeing to pay the visitation
travel costs for himself and the children, as he was living
in San Diego, California, while Lisa and the children were
living in Crete, Illinois.
5 Around the end of 2012, Caleb retired from the Marine Corps
and enrolled in law school in New York. In September 2015,
Lisa learned that Caleb was employed as an attorney in
Dallas, Texas. After Lisa requested information on his new
income, Caleb provided a pay stub to her in November 2015
that indicated he was making $185, 000 per year. Caleb was
also receiving $31, 716 per year in veteran's benefits.
6 As a result of her learning of Caleb's increased
income, Lisa filed a petition to increase child support on
January 8, 2016. In part, the petition alleged that Caleb had
visited with one or both children only 14 times over the past
four years, for a total of 33 days, such that the main reason
for the downward deviation in child support was no longer
applicable. Lisa requested the court to raise Caleb's
child support obligation to the statutory guideline amount of
28% of his net income. In his answer, Caleb agreed that a
reasonable increase in child support was warranted, but he
proposed his obligation be raised only to $1600 per month
with a $2400-per-year increase in his contribution to the
children's college fund.
7 Numerous pleadings were filed by the parties over the next
year, and the litigation became increasingly acrimonious, due
at least in part to both parties alleging discovery abuses.
In July 2016, Lisa and the children moved to Munster,
Indiana. On August 11, 2016, the circuit court issued an
order after it held a hearing on multiple matters. The court
allowed Caleb's attorney to withdraw, and he proceeded
pro se. Among other things, the court also gave the
parties 28 days to file new financial disclosure statements.
8 After he began representing himself, Caleb filed several
motions, including a combined motion to dismiss for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction,
improper venue, and failure to state a claim for which relief
could be granted. Because Lisa was residing in Indiana with
the children, he also filed for modification of the
child-support order in Indiana. Lisa was required to hire
Indiana counsel to litigate Caleb's additional claims.
9 Caleb failed to comply with the financial disclosure
statement deadline, causing Lisa to file a petition for rule
to show cause in September 2016. She alleged that Caleb was
attempting to delay the resolution of her petition to modify
the child-support order. The circuit court granted the
petition and issued a rule against Caleb ordering him to
comply within five days. In addition, the order stated that