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Will Infidelity Affect the Outcome of My Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on August 05, 2020 in Divorce

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A cheating or unfaithful spouse can put a huge strain on a marriage, and in many cases, one from which the marriage cannot recover. If your spouse has been unfaithful to you, you may understandably be angry and upset, and if you have cheated on your spouse, you may feel shame and regret. Beyond these emotional struggles, you and your spouse will likely face the difficult decision as to whether you should divorce in the aftermath of infidelity. If you do decide to proceed with legally ending your marriage, you should be aware of how the unfaithfulness can factor into the outcome.

Understanding the Impact of Adultery on a Divorce

Infidelity will almost certainly have some effect on the way you and your spouse go about the divorce proceedings, but it may not always have as much of an impact as you might expect. Some things to keep in mind about infidelity when going through your divorce include:

  • Adultery cannot be used as grounds to establish fault. With emotions running high, you may feel tempted to punish your spouse for his or her cheating behavior. However, in Illinois, divorces are considered to be no-fault, with the only legal grounds being irreconcilable differences. Infidelity can lead to irreconcilable differences that result in a divorce, but one spouse will not be held more responsible than the other for the failure of the marriage despite his or her cheating behavior.

  • Infidelity will not affect most terms of the divorce resolution. Because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, adultery alone cannot be used as a reason to favor one spouse in resolutions involving division of property, spousal support, child support, or parenting time and responsibilities. Instead, these decisions will proceed as usual based on factors including each spouse’s income, education, earning potential, contributions to the marriage, and living situation. However, an unfaithful spouse may be held responsible for additional actions including dissipating marital assets to purchase gifts for an extramarital partner, or living with a partner who poses a danger to his or her children.

  • Unfaithfulness may result in a contested divorce. Perhaps the most likely way for adultery to impact your divorce is to make it more difficult for you and your spouse to come to a mutual, cooperative agreement on the terms of your divorce settlement. Whereas an amicable divorce can often be resolved through mediation, saving time, money, and stress of going to trial, a divorce involving infidelity can be highly combative and lead to a long, drawn-out battle in the courtroom.

It is worth noting that while adultery cannot be used to establish fault in an Illinois divorce, it is still considered a criminal misdemeanor under Illinois law. However, this law is rarely enforced and is unlikely to lead to criminal charges for the unfaithful spouse.

Contact a Naperville Divorce Attorney

If you have decided to get a divorce after your own or your partner’s infidelity, it is important to seek legal counsel to make sure all the proper legal steps are taken. The accomplished and diligent attorneys at the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. can advise you as to how to proceed to minimize conflict and best protect your interests. Contact our qualified DuPage County divorce lawyers today at 630-355-7776 to schedule your free consultation.


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