Wife’s attorney was granted leave to withdraw. The court struck the upcoming trial date. The court reset the trial date to a “firm and final” trial date. That date was more than 90 days away.
Wife filed a petition for interim attorney fees. She wanted money now so that she could hire another attorney. The trial court denied her request. Her petition was not verified. It was not signed by a notary. She did not include an affidavit as required by statute.
Just before the firm and final trial date, she had surgery. She filed a motion for continuance of the trial date. Her request was denied. She did not submit any affidavits in support of her motion for continuance. She did not provide any medical evidence to support her claim. She claimed that she could not go ahead with the trial. The statute is very clear about what needs to be included in the motion.
At the trial, Wife admitted that she drove herself to court. Wife did not appear unable to perform at trial. In fact, the court found that Wife performed “admirably” at trial.
Wife appealed the trial court orders. The order that denied her interim attorney fees. And, the order that denied her a continuance for trial. She did not challenge any provision of the divorce decree itself. She only requested reversal. And, a new trial.
The Appellate Court said that there was no violation of the Trial Court’s orders. Wife had speculated that she would have trouble retaining new counsel. But, there is no constitutional right to counsel in a divorce case. Also, the statute clearly states that it awards interim fees to “current counsel”. Wife had no “current counsel.” So, she had no counsel to whom they could be awarded.
‘The rules do not contemplate an award of attorney’s fees to you so you can go out shopping for an attorney. That’s not how it works.’
The Trial Court case had been pending for more than two years. The trial dates had been rescheduled twice. Wife had been informed that the trial would not be rescheduled on account of her upcoming surgery.
In re Marriage of Heindl, 2014 IL App (2d) 130198.
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