If your spouse is seeking maintenance and not working, you have the option of petitioning the court to order your spouse to maintain a job diary. Job diaries are generally a list of contacts that one makes with prospective employers.
Usually the personal obligated to maintain the diary is ordered to make at least five (5) contacts per week, with information including, but not limited to: (a) the date he applied, (b) the address and phone number of employer to which he applied, (c) the person that he spoke to, (d) the position sought, (e) compensation information regarding the position sought, and (f) the reason that his contact did not lead to a job offer. The job diary is then tendered to Opposing Counsel at regular intervals, such as monthly of bi-monthly.
Illinois courts have held that there is an obligation for the party seeking maintenance to make a good faith effort to find and accept appropriate employment. In re Marriage of Schuster, 224 Ill. App. 3d 958, 970 (1992). See also In re Marriage of Cantrell, 314 Ill. App. 3d 623 (2000).
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/505.1, maintains “a court may order the person to seek employment and report periodically to the court with a diary, listing or any memorandum of his or her efforts in accordance with such order.”
If you are seeking to have your spouse maintain a job diary, it is a good idea to indicate the type of position he or she is expected to be secure. Often time’s descriptive language such as the following is included: Spouse shall use his best efforts to seek gainful employment that commiserates with his experience, skill set and education.
While keeping a job diary might seem degrading to the spouse obligated to keep it, it is another tool used in the system to ensure that assets and support are contributed to and distributed equitability.