from the Circuit Court of McLean County No. 09F65 Honorable
Paul G. Lawrence, Judge Presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant: Gina L. Wood, of Thomson &
Weintraub, LLC, of Bloomington, for appellant.
Attorneys for Appellee: Angela K. Skinner, of Allison &
Mosby-Scott, of Bloomington, for appellee.
DeARMOND, JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Holder White and Justice Steigmann
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 In October 2018, the trial court ordered respondent,
Roderick Joyner, to pay $766.90 per month in child support.
Roderick filed a motion to reconsider, and the court reduced
the obligation to $760.03. In April 2019, the trial court
also ordered Roderick to pay petitioner Rhonda Vance's
attorney fees resulting from the litigation of this case.
2 On appeal, Roderick argues the trial court erred in (1)
calculating the parties' child support obligation by
failing to include gifts Rhonda received from her parents as
income and miscalculating his net income and (2) ordering
respondent to pay petitioner's legal fees.
3 I. BACKGROUND
4 In March 2009, Rhonda filed a petition pursuant to the
Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 (750 ILCS 45/1 et
seq. (West 2008)) to determine the existence of the
father-and-child relationship with respect to her minor child
M.J., who was born in 2006. The parties were not married at
the time the minor was born and had not married thereafter.
The petition named respondent as the presumed father of M.J.,
sought the initiation of child support payments, and
requested all such payments be made to the State Disbursement
5 In July 2009, after a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test
established Roderick as M.J.'s father, the trial court
entered an order establishing a parent-child relationship
between Roderick and M.J. Three months later, the court
entered a child support order, reached by the agreement of
the parties, requiring Roderick to pay child support in the
amount of $55.49 per week until June 1, 2025, and child
support arrearages in the amount of $11.10 per week until the
delinquency was satisfied. Roderick satisfied the delinquency
support obligation in June 2010, and the court dismissed the
claim for child support arrearages on July 2, 2010. After the
court entered this order, Roderick quit making all child
support payments to the State Disbursement Unit.
6 On August 27, 2015, Rhonda filed a petition to modify child
support, alleging Roderick's income and M.J.'s needs
had substantially increased. Rhonda also filed a petition
alleging Roderick was in civil contempt of the September 2009
child support order because he had not paid any child support
after July 2, 2010. Rhonda asked the court to enter a new
deficiency judgment against Roderick and order Roderick to
pay her attorney fees. Additionally, after Roderick failed to
properly respond to Rhonda's discovery requests, Rhonda
filed a motion to compel on December 28, 2015.
7 On October 4, 2017, Rhonda also filed a petition for
interim fees and costs pursuant to section 501(b) of the
Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46/501(b) (West
2016)). Rhonda alleged she had incurred significant attorney
fees because Roderick had kept information from her and
delayed court proceedings. She further indicated she did not
have the ability to pay the balance of her attorney fees and
asked the court to order Roderick to pay $8000 for her
8 Hearings on Rhonda's petition to modify child support
were held on June 28, 2017, March 22, 2018, and April 9,
2018. After the June 28, 2017, hearing, Roderick presented
the trial court with 29 new pretrial exhibits. Rhonda
objected to all of the exhibits-arguing that they should not
be admitted because they were not timely and the information
they contained had not been disclosed during discovery-and
requested sanctions. Although the trial court recognized in
its November 2017 order that Roderick violated supreme court
rules and failed to comply with discovery, the court allowed
Roderick to present the exhibits. The court reserved the
issue of sanctions.
9 A. Rhonda Vance
10 Rhonda is the mother of four children. M.J. is the only
child she has with Roderick. She testified M.J. attended
public school and participated in several different sports.
Roderick had paid child support until sometime in 2010, which
resulted in child support arrearages exceeding $17, 000.
However, he infrequently gave her money for some of M.J.
's special expenses, such as sports equipment. From 2010
until the time she testified, Rhonda estimated Roderick had
given her a total of $500, but no more than $40 on a single
11 Rhonda also testified to the contents of her financial
affidavit. She reported earning a gross income of $24, 850 in
2015. She earned $2070.83 per month. Her total monthly
expenses for herself and M.J. totaled $6385.14. She also made
monthly debt payments. Each month her expenses and debts
exceeded her income by $4468.90. On cross-examination, she
acknowledged her parents helped to make up the deficits by
paying her directly or making payments to her creditors. The
financial assistance she received from her parents was not
listed as a loan on her financial affidavit or included as
12 Rhonda estimated Roderick's income at approximately
$83, 000. He owns a barbershop, "A Kut Above," in
Bloomington, Illinois, where he only accepts cash payments.
Roderick told her he only accepted cash payments because cash
cannot be tracked. He also has four rental properties. She
also testified to calculating his gross income based on
deposits made into his accounts; however, she did not take
into consideration or make any deductions based on transfers
between Roderick's personal and business accounts. After
assessing deductions for income taxes and social security,
she believed Roderick should pay $970.93 per month in child
support. In October 2017, while this matter was ongoing,
Roderick also purchased a 2014 Cadillac Escalade for $38,
799. On loan documents, which showed Roderick as the only
loan applicant and purchaser, his annual income was shown as
13 B. Gary Mohamed
14 Gary Mohamed is Roderick's friend and a barber at A
Kut Above. He has rented a chair from Roderick for over a
decade. His rent payments have been $600 for the past two
years. Mohamed testified Rhonda came to the barbershop every
one-to-two weeks from 2010 through 2015. During some of those
visits and from his workstation, he saw Roderick give Rhonda
money. He testified Roderick probably gave her money at least
50 different times.
15 C. Willie Brown
16 Willie Brown is a client of Gary Mohamed and regularly
visits the barber shop every two weeks. From 2010 through
2015, he saw Rhonda at the shop approximately two to three
times in a two-month period. During some of her visits,
Roderick would give Rhonda something; however, he did not
know what Roderick gave to Rhonda.
17 Brown also testified he loaned Roderick $7000 in 2015. A
promissory note created and executed by Roderick stated the
loan amount was $6000, but Brown was certain he had loaned
Roderick $7000. He made the loan because road construction on
the nearby bridge on Market Street caused the barbershop to
lose business and caused Roderick to experience financial
18 D. Tyrus Smith
19 Tyrus Smith is Roderick's friend and a longtime
customer at A Kut Above. He gets his hair cut at the
barbershop every two weeks and also visits the shop two to
three times a week. Once every two weeks, he saw Rhonda at
the barbershop. Approximately twice a month, he observed
Roderick give Rhonda money.
20 Smith also loaned Roderick $7000 in 2015. He made the loan
because Roderick said the barbershop was in trouble and he
needed help with child support issues.
21 E. Doni Tornowski
22 Doni Tornowski is Roderick's friend, and her sons are
customers of A Kut Above. When she took her sons to the
barbershop for haircuts, which occurred at least once a
month, she saw Rhonda there as well. On five or six different
occasions from 2010 to 2015, she observed Roderick give
Rhonda money. However, she did not know how much money
Roderick gave to Rhonda or the purpose of the exchange.
23 F. Keith Faris
24 Keith Faris, Roderick's friend since high school, is a
customer of the barbershop, which he visits two to three
times per week. During 8 to 10 of these visits, he observed
Roderick give Rhonda an envelope or a check. He specifically
recalled at least one occasion where Rhonda waved a check
around and said Roderick needed to "take care of his
25 G. Shawn Maier
26 Shawn Maier became a customer of A Kut Above in 2011 when
he moved back to Illinois, but he has known Roderick since
high school. He goes to the shop twice a month. He testified
to seeing Rhonda at the barbershop and, approximately eight
times, he saw Roderick give her ...