McFarlin v. McFarlin, No. 27421.

CourtIllinois Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMURPHY
Citation384 Ill. 428,51 N.E.2d 520
Docket NumberNo. 27421.
Decision Date16 November 1943
PartiesMcFARLIN v. McFARLIN.

384 Ill. 428
51 N.E.2d 520

McFARLIN
v.
McFARLIN.

No. 27421.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

Nov. 16, 1943.


Action by Evaline McFarlin against Clifford McFarlin for a divorce, wherein defendant filed a petition to set aside a divorce decree in favor of plaintiff. From an order vacating the decree, plaintiff appeals.

Order reversed and cause remanded with directions to dismiss the petition.

WILSON, J., dissenting.

[51 N.E.2d 520]

Appeal from City Court of Harrisburg; John M. Reid, Judge.
W. W. Damron, of Harrisburg, for appellant.

[51 N.E.2d 521]

Lloyd H. Melton, of Harrisburg, for appellee.


MURPHY, Justice.

By this appeal appellant seeks to reverse an order of the city court of Harrisburg, entered in a divorce action in which she as plaintiff obtained a divorce from appellee on the grounds of extreme and repeated cruelty. The decisive issue is as to the jurisdiction of the court. A constitutional question is raised which involves the validity of the proviso to section 5 (Ill.Rev.Stat.1941, chap. 40, par. 6) of the Divorce Act. The cause comes to this court by direct appeal.

Evaline McFarlin was plaintiff in the divorce action, defended against a petition to vacate the divorce decree entered in her favor, and is appellant here. She will be referred to as plaintiff. Clifford McFarlin will be referred to as defendant.

The decree entered in May, 1942, awarded a divorce, the custody of the children, and approved a contract of settlement in reference to support and maintenance of the children. From the entry of the decree to December 24, 1942, the parties abided by its terms. On the latter date, defendant filed a petition in the original cause in which he prayed that the decree be declared void and set aside. Two grounds were alleged—one that neither of the parties had a residence in the city of Harrisburg when the divorce was granted, and that the decree was granted by the judge of the city court of Eldorado, who had not been properly called to preside in the city court of Harrisburg. The trial court sustained the first ground and vacated the decree. The only point urged by either party on this appeal is in reference to residence. Plaintiff contends that section 5 of the Divorce Act authorizes the procedure adopted, and that by its terms the city court had jurisdiction to hear and adjudge the case. Defendant contends said section is unconstitutional insofar as it attempts to confer jurisdiction on the city courts to grant divorces to persons who are not citizens of the city wherein said court is held.

It appeared on the face of the complaint that plaintiff was a resident of Saline county when the suit was filed and had been a resident of the State for more than twenty years, but it contained no reference as to whether her residence was within or without the city of Harrisburg. The decree of divorce contained no reference whatsoever as to residence. The evidence introduced on the divorce hearing is not in the record in this case. The petition to vacate the decree and the order granting the prayer of the petition contain allegations as to defendant's place of residence, but, in view of the language of the statute involved and the conclusions reached, it will not be necessary to consider anything in reference to defendant's residence.

Jurisdiction of the subject matter is the power of a court to hear and determine causes of the general class to which the proceeding in question belongs, and such jurisdiction is always conferred by law. In its application to a certain controversy, jurisdiction means the power and authority to hear and determine the issues involved in the cause. Woodward v. Ruel, 355 Ill. 163, 188 N.E. 911;People v. Ford, 289 Ill. 550, 124 N.E. 549;Oakman v. Small, 282 Ill. 360, 118 N.E. 775.

Courts of equity have no inherent power in cases of divorce. The jurisdiction of such courts to hear and determine divorce matters is conferred only by statute. While such courts may exercise their powers within the limits of the jurisdiction conferred by the statute, the jurisdiction depends upon the grant of the statute and not upon general equity powers. Johnson v. Johnson, 381 Ill. 362, 45 N.E.2d 625;Smith v. Smith, 334 Ill 370, 166 N.E. 85.

Section 2 of the Divorce Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1941, chap. 40, par. 3) directs that no person shall be entitled to a divorce who has not resided in the State one whole year next before the filing of the complaint, unless the offense or injury complained of was committed within the State or while one or both of the parties resided in this State. Section 4 (par. 5) confers the power upon the circuit courts of the respective counties and the superior court of Cook county to hear divorces and matters of alimony. Section 5 (par. 6) is the venue section. Prior to the amendment of 1939, it provided that ‘The proceeding shall be had in the county where the plaintiff resides, but process may be directed to any county in the State.’ The amendment of 1939 added the following: ‘Provided, such proceedings may be had in any court of the county, where the plaintiff so resides, that may have jurisdiction...

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25 practice notes
  • Meyer v. Meyer, Gen. No. 44004.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 17, 1948
    ...and as such compliance therewith is not a jurisdictional requirement. In support of this theory defendant cites McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520, and Cullen v. Stevens, 389 Ill. 35, 58 N.E.2d 456, and argues that in those cases the Supreme Court departed from and repudiated......
  • Farah v. Farah, No. 59651
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 6, 1975
    ...to confer on the court jurisdiction of his case.' Davis v. Davis, 9 Ill.App.3d 922, 929, 293 N.E.2d 399, 405 citing McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520; also People ex rel. Page 365 Bradley v. McAuliffe, 24 Ill.2d 75, 80, 81, 179 N.E.2d 616. Thus, the clear issue regarding the......
  • In re Marriage of Ramsey, No. 5-01-0939.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 10, 2003
    ...and not upon general equity powers.'" Strukoff, 76 Ill.2d at 60, 27 Ill.Dec. 762, 389 N.E.2d at 1172-73 (quoting McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 431, 51 N.E.2d 520, 521 (1943)). We believe that Mary cites this language out of context. In Strukoff, the trial court that had dissolved the ......
  • Herb v. Pitcairn, Nos. 27275
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 17, 1946
    ...to the circuit court with the petitions for appointment of a receiver still pending and undetermined.’ As late as McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520, we held that a city court could entertain a divorce proceeding where the plaintiff lived in the courty, provided the cause of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Meyer v. Meyer, Gen. No. 44004.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 17, 1948
    ...and as such compliance therewith is not a jurisdictional requirement. In support of this theory defendant cites McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520, and Cullen v. Stevens, 389 Ill. 35, 58 N.E.2d 456, and argues that in those cases the Supreme Court departed from and repudiated......
  • Farah v. Farah, No. 59651
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • January 6, 1975
    ...to confer on the court jurisdiction of his case.' Davis v. Davis, 9 Ill.App.3d 922, 929, 293 N.E.2d 399, 405 citing McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520; also People ex rel. Page 365 Bradley v. McAuliffe, 24 Ill.2d 75, 80, 81, 179 N.E.2d 616. Thus, the clear issue regarding the......
  • In re Marriage of Ramsey, No. 5-01-0939.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 10, 2003
    ...and not upon general equity powers.'" Strukoff, 76 Ill.2d at 60, 27 Ill.Dec. 762, 389 N.E.2d at 1172-73 (quoting McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 431, 51 N.E.2d 520, 521 (1943)). We believe that Mary cites this language out of context. In Strukoff, the trial court that had dissolved the ......
  • Herb v. Pitcairn, Nos. 27275
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 17, 1946
    ...to the circuit court with the petitions for appointment of a receiver still pending and undetermined.’ As late as McFarlin v. McFarlin, 384 Ill. 428, 51 N.E.2d 520, we held that a city court could entertain a divorce proceeding where the plaintiff lived in the courty, provided the cause of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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