Kuceba v. Kuceba, No. 2-17-0622

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE SPENCE delivered the judgment of the court.
Citation2019 IL App (2d) 170622 -U
Decision Date06 March 2019
Docket NumberNo. 2-17-0622
PartiesIn re MARRIAGE OF INEZA KUCEBA, Petitioner-Appellee, and ARTHUR KUCEBA, Respondent-Appellant.

2019 IL App (2d) 170622-U

In re MARRIAGE OF INEZA KUCEBA, Petitioner-Appellee,
and
ARTHUR KUCEBA, Respondent-Appellant.

No. 2-17-0622

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS SECOND DISTRICT

March 6, 2019


NOTICE: This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and may not be cited as precedent by any party except in the limited circumstances allowed under Rule 23(e)(1).

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County.

No. 03-D-1754

Honorable Michael B. Betar, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE SPENCE delivered the judgment of the court.
Justices Hutchinson and Schostok concurred in the judgment.

ORDER

¶ 1 Held: In its ruling on a contempt petition, the trial court did not err in finding Arthur in contempt for failing to pay for his son's medical expenses, sentencing Arthur to an indefinite term of imprisonment if he failed to pay, altering its ruling on a discovery order, or setting a purge of $7,500. However, the trial court did err in including the son's medical insurance premiums in the judgment. In its ruling on a petition to establish educational expenses, the trial court did not make inconsistent findings about Arthur's employment or err in imputing to him an annual income of $60,000 to $65,000. Therefore, we affirmed as modified.

¶ 2 Respondent, Arthur Kuceba, and petitioner, Ineza Kuceba, were married in 1988 in Cook County. Their son, Allen, was born on March 23, 1989. The parties' marriage was dissolved on May 19, 2005. At that time and thereafter, Ineza and Allen resided in the state of Washington

Page 2

while Arthur resided in Illinois. In 2011, Ineza filed a petition to establish educational expenses and a petition for rule to show cause relating to Allen's medical expenses. The trial court entered judgment for Ineza on the former petition for $18,752.76. On the latter petition, it found Arthur in contempt and ordered him to pay $22,573.14.

¶ 3 Arthur challenges these rulings on appeal. Regarding the contempt petition, Arthur argues that the trial court erred in (1) finding him in contempt, because Allen had already reached the age of majority at the time the petition was filed; (2) sentencing him to an indefinite term of imprisonment; (3) failing to enforce its prior discovery order barring Ineza's claims that were unsupported by proof of payment; (4) including medical insurance premiums that were covered by his child support obligations; and (5) setting a purge amount of $7,500. For the petition to establish educational expenses, Arthur argues that (6) the trial court made inconsistent findings about his employment, and (7) the trial court erred in imputing an annual income to him of $60,000 to $65,000. We agree with just the fourth argument and therefore affirm as modified.

¶ 4 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 5 The parties' dissolution judgment contained the following provision regarding Allen's uncovered medical expenses:

"All reasonable medical, dental, optical and related expenses of the child not paid for by insurance, shall be split equally between the parties. The parties' obligation *** shall commence upon entry of the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and continue until the obligations for the child's undergraduate or trade school education *** are fulfilled. That after the submission for any and all medical and dental expenses to the insurance for payment, the parties shall equally divide all uninsured medical and dental expenses, which shall include co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions."

Page 3

On the subject of college expenses, the judgment provided:

"The parties hereby agree to be responsible for the college expenses of the child, after taking into account the earnings and savings of the child and after exhausting scholarships, grants, and loans. By 'college education expenses' there is meant and included tuition, books, supplies, room and board (including living expenses of the child while at home during vacations or if commuting to college), registration and other required fees, sorority [sic] dues, assessments and charges, transportation expenses between the school or college and the home of the child (if the child is in attendance at an out-of-town school or college) not to exceed four (4) in any calendar year."

¶ 6 A. Ineza's Petitions

¶ 7 On October 4, 2011, Ineza filed a petition to establish educational expenses. Ineza alleged that since September 2008, Allen had been attending either Bellevue Community College or the University of Washington and incurred educational expenses of $20,033.16, which had been paid either by Ineza or through student loans. She alleged that Arthur had refused to make any contributions to Allen's education; that fall tuition was $6,014; and that $2,346 had to be paid to the University of Washington by October 14, 2011, for Allen to continue to attend. Ineza requested that the trial court: order Arthur to pay the $2,346; establish the parties' respective obligations for Allen's educational expenses; order Arthur to reimburse her the money she expended in excess of her contribution obligations; and order Arthur to contribute to her attorney fees.

¶ 8 The following month, on November 15, 2011, Ineza filed a petition for rule to show cause. As relevant here, Ineza alleged in count II that she had paid for unreimbursed medical expenses for Allen and that Arthur had refused to pay half of the expenses, in violation of the

Page 4

dissolution judgment. Ineza requested that Arthur reimburse her for $15,152.72, along with reasonable attorney fees and costs.

¶ 9 The petitions came before the trial court for pretrial conference on October 9, 2014.1 Arthur's counsel stated that he had not received any financial documents or proof of payment regarding the alleged unreimbursed expenses in the two petitions. He also stated that he had not received any response to his Illinois Supreme Court Rule 214 (eff. July 1, 2014) request that he had served on Ineza's counsel about two years prior. Ineza's counsel stated that Arthur had not yet complied with a local court rule regarding financial disclosure. The trial court stated that it could not intelligently conduct a pretrial conference due to the lack of discovery compliance, and it expressed extreme frustration at the number of times that the case had been continued for this reason. The trial court ordered that both parties comply with the local court rule within 28 days and that Ineza provide proof of payment of the expenses alleged in her petitions within 35 days. Ineza's counsel stated that Ineza would be able to do so.

¶ 10 On January 29, 2015, Arthur filed a motion requesting that the trial court deny Ineza's petitions due to her intentional delay, involuntarily dismiss the case and impose sanctions, or continue the pretrial conference date. He alleged that Ineza had not produced documents for 27 months after service of the request to produce, nor had she complied with the October 9, 2014, order. At a hearing that day, Arthur's counsel stated that Arthur had complied with the aforementioned order by tendering his financial disclosure, but that he had not received any documents or communication from Ineza's counsel since the entry of the order. Ineza's counsel replied that he had just provided Arthur's counsel with a stack of documents in compliance with

Page 5

the order. Arthur's counsel responded that he had been given a disorganized pile of explanation of benefits statements and unpaid invoices, not proof of payment of expenses. The trial court granted Ineza's counsel time to respond to Arthur's motion.

¶ 11 Ineza thereafter filed a response in which she stated, among other things, that her counsel had delivered a complete packet of documents on educational and medical expenses during the pretrial conference on October 9, 2014. During the court hearing on January 29, 2015, counsel also gave Arthur's counsel a bank statement showing a payment of $25,000 for educational expenses. The parties had a telephone conference in February 2015 in which it became evident that Arthur's counsel was misinformed about what documents Ineza had already provided. He stated that he would create a list of records that he had in his possession and those he still needed, but he never provided such a list, despite repeated e-mail and phone requests. Ineza therefore requested that the trial court deny Arthur's motion.

¶ 12 A hearing on the motion took place on March 25, 2015. Arthur's counsel reiterated the allegations from the motion. Ineza's counsel stated that Ineza was working diligently to locate the requested documents and was not intentionally or negligently delaying or refusing to comply with discovery orders. The trial court entered an order requiring Ineza to provide a document within 45 days indicating the specific expenses for which she sought reimbursement. Further, the document was to:

"be accompanied by a receipt or other proof of payment with respect to each specific expense or payment. [Ineza] shall be barred from seeking reimbursement for any expense or payment that is not included in such letter with a corresponding receipt or other proof of payment."

Page 6

¶ 13 On August 28, 2015, Arthur filed a motion in limine. He alleged that pursuant to the March 25, 2015, order, Ineza had provided a list with attached documentation, but she did not provide proof of payment with respect to almost all of the alleged unreimbursed expenses. Arthur requested that she be barred from presenting any evidence at trial, or, alternatively, be barred from presenting any evidence with respect to certain expenses.

¶ 14 At a hearing that day, the parties stipulated that Ineza had not produced a receipt or other proof of payment for the alleged expenses indicated in exhibits B, D, and E of the motion in limine. Arthur's counsel argued that Ineza should therefore be barred from seeking reimbursement for those expenses. Ineza's counsel stated that Ineza was unable to comply because she had given the original documents to Allen. When Ineza contacted her service providers, they could not provide...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT