Can Marital Misconduct Affect My Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on May 08, 2024 in Divorce

Kane County, IL divorce lawyerIllinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that spouses who want to get divorced do not need to show that someone is to blame for the divorce. A court only needs to know that there are “irreconcilable differences” such that the marriage cannot survive.

Unlike some other states, Illinois divorce law does not generally care whether a spouse engaged in marital misconduct. Courts are not allowed to take such misbehavior into account when:

  • Deciding how assets should be divided

  • Making decisions about family maintenance, including spousal support and child support

There are certain cases, however, in which marital misconduct can impact a divorce. An Illinois divorce attorney can help you understand how your specific divorce might be affected.

What is Marital Misconduct?

Marital misconduct is behavior that endangers or undermines the marriage. It means that a spouse behaves in a way that contrasts with how a person is expected to conduct a marriage. Forms of marital misconduct include:

  • Adultery

  • Any kind of abuse

  • Financial mismanagement, such as spending marital funds on a gambling addiction or hiding marital assets

  • Refusal to engage in sexual relations

While some of these behaviors — such as domestic abuse or hiding assets — may be crimes, an Illinois court will not grant one spouse more alimony or assets solely because the other spouse is guilty of abuse.

There are cases, however, in which certain forms of marital misconduct can affect a court’s decision.

Abuse Can Affect Child Custody

If it is proven in court that one spouse is guilty of any kind of abuse, the judge is not likely to grant him or her the majority of physical custody, or parenting time. Depending on the abuse that was committed, a judge may even restrict that parent to supervised visitation.

Financial Misuse Can Affect Asset Division and Spousal Support

By default, Illinois law entitles each spouse to a fair and equitable share of marital property. However, if a court finds that one spouse has committed marital misconduct using the couple’s joint funds, or marital assets, it can affect the court’s decision regarding how to divide the property between the spouses. 

For example, a court may determine that one spouse has:

  • Spent joint funds on a gambling or drug addiction

  • Hidden assets from the other spouse that he or she is entitled to

  • Lied about his or her employment status or income to avoid financial obligations

  • Drawn the couple into debts that could have been avoided

  • Stolen money or property from the other spouse

In such cases, a judge may award the lion’s share of the marital assets to the spouse who is not guilty of misconduct. This decision would not be to penalize the offending spouse but to make sure the other spouse receives what he or she is rightfully entitled to.

Contact a Kane County, IL Divorce Attorney

Illinois courts do not penalize marital misconduct in a divorce. However, with the right St. Charles, Illinois divorce attorney, marital misconduct can sometimes be used to swing the case in the other spouse’s favor. At Goostree Law Group, we are highly experienced in divorces involving marital misconduct and will guide you in how to use it to any possible advantage. Get a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800 today.

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