The law is structured in a way that is designed to assist people and corporations with legal problems, as opposed to personal problems. As a result, as a family law attorney, I often find that my clients would like to resolve problems which are more personal in nature. These sorts of personal problems that occur between two people in a family law case are not typically given specific ways to resolve them under Illinois statutes. For example, a legal problem might be something along the lines of “she never pays child support on time” or “he never provides me with a right of first refusal when he cannot be with the children during his parenting time”. These are issues which are easy to remedy because Illinois statutes provide law which is enforceable on these issues. When you are dealing with a family dynamic, issues arise which don’t have statutes on the books in Illinois to help resolve the problems. So, the question becomes, how do we remedy this in family law cases?
The answer is simple. One must build an Allocation Judgment which provides ways for these sorts of personal issues to be resolved. Once there is an Allocation Judgment in place, that becomes the law which the parties live by. If they violate the Allocation Judgment, they can face consequences before their Judge, including but not limited to contempt and sanctions, or even jail time in some scenarios. If there are issues relative to a particular case which don’t have remedies already provided in the law in Illinois, then you have to add these issues into the Allocation Judgment. That way, if a party violates a rule for which there is no statutory authority to enforce, the party has recourse and can ask for a contempt finding, sanctions, etc.
Some examples of issues for which there are no remedies provided under Illinois law, and which may need to be built into an Allocation Judgment include: (1) providing minor children with particular dietary restrictions (2) providing the minor children with certain medications (3) providing specific care to a minor child that is specific to that child’s needs, per their pediatrician; (4) Ensuring that telephone contact is allowed between minor children and the other parent; (5) Ensuring that video chat parenting time is allowed between the minor children and another party; and so on. If there isn’t a clear order providing that something is to be done by one of the parties, then if the other party refuses to do it, there is no recourse. It is important to assess your unique situation and ensure that your Allocation Judgment is crafted to your specific needs, so that recourse is available in the event the other party fails to do what they are supposed to do.