In Hochstatter, the wife filed for divorce and also filed a motion seeking temporary maintenance and child support. The parties agreed to amounts for temporary maintenance and child support. Eventually, an order was entered requiring the husband to pay retroactive maintenance and support going back to the date that the wife filed her motions. Also, the Judgement for Dissolution contained new amounts for maintenance and support beyond what the parties agreed to in the temporary order. On appeal, the husband argued that the retroactive maintenance and support orders were not proper.
In its decision released on May 12, 2020, the Appellate Court explained that the purpose of granting temporary maintenance and child support is to attempt to balance the equities between the parties as fairly as possible while the dissolution case is pending. 2020 IL App (3d) 190132 at paragraph 16, citing Kenly v. Kenly, 47 Ill. app. 3d 694, 698 (1977). Moreover, the court noted that the Dissolution of Marriage Act authorizes temporary maintenance and child support at 750 ILCS 5/501(a).
The Appellate Court explained that temporary orders encourage amicable settlements. Id. Also, temporary orders are not binding on the trial court and are terminated and superseded by the provisions of the final decree and are effective until resolution of the prayers for dissolution. Id. Essentially meaning, temporary orders end with the Judgment for Dissolution, which is the final order in a divorce case.
In his appeal, Mr. Hochstatter argued that because the parties agreed to amounts for maintenance and child support in the temporary orders, the trail court did not have the authority to award retroactive maintenance and child support. Id. at paragraph 17. The Appellate Court did not find this argument persuasive, rather, the Appellate Court explained that temporary orders for maintenance and child support by their nature are merely stopgaps that lasts only until the court resolves the pending questions of maintenance and child support. It is irrelevant to that determination whether the parties agreed to amounts in the temporary order. Id.
As a result, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's decision stating the trial court had statutory authority to award the wife maintenance and child support from the date of her motion and to determine the amount of maintenance and child support from statutory calculations, regardless to what the parties agreed upon in the temporary orders.
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