How Will Infidelity Affect the Divorce Process in Illinois?

 Posted on August 31, 2021 in Divorce

St. Charles divorce attorneyMarriages can break down for a variety of reasons, but infidelity is one of the most painful and emotionally difficult issues that can lead to divorce. If your marriage is ending because either you or your spouse were unfaithful, you will probably be wondering how this will affect your divorce proceedings. Whether you are struggling to come to terms with your spouse’s infidelity or you are concerned about whether your own behavior during your marriage will play a role in your divorce, you will want to understand how Illinois law applies in your situation.

Addressing Infidelity When Filing for Divorce or Resolving Disputes

Even though the wounds of your broken marriage may still be raw, it is important to understand that the legal process of divorce is not focused on assigning blame for the end of a relationship. When filing for divorce in Illinois, the petitioning spouse will not specify any fault-based grounds for divorce, and they will not give specific reasons for their desire to dissolve the marriage. Instead, a divorce petition will state that irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This will allow you and your spouse to approach your divorce on equal terms without any disputes over who was at fault.

The purpose of the divorce process is to address the legal issues that must be resolved before the legal partnership between you and your spouse can be terminated. You will be looking to create a divorce settlement that determines how you will separate all of the aspects of your lives that have become combined during your marriage. Illinois law specifically notes that “marital misconduct” is not an issue that will affect decisions in certain divorce-related issues, such as spousal maintenance. This means that even if infidelity was a primary cause of your divorce, it may play no role at all in your divorce proceedings.

There are a few issues that may be affected by a spouse’s infidelity, but only in specific circumstances. These include:

  • Property division - Assets and debts must be divided between you and your spouse without regard to marital misconduct, and you or your spouse cannot be financially penalized because either of you had cheated. However, if one party committed asset dissipation by using marital funds to pursue an affair, the couple’s property settlement may reflect this, or the person may be required to repay the other spouse for the dissipated assets.

  • Child custody - When determining how to allocate parenting time and parental responsibilities, any conduct by a parent that did not affect their relationship with their child may not be considered. Since infidelity is usually unrelated to parenting, it may not affect decisions about custody of children. However, there may be some cases where a parent’s infidelity has had an impact on parent/child relationships. For example, if your spouse had been absent from the home for extended periods while carrying on an affair and did not help care for your children, you may ask to have your children live with you the majority of the time following your divorce.

Contact Our Kane County Divorce Attorneys

If your marriage is ending because of infidelity or other issues, Goostree Law Group can help you understand your rights, and we will work with you to resolve divorce-related disputes while minimizing conflict with your spouse. Contact our St. Charles divorce lawyers by calling 630-584-4800 to set up a complimentary consultation.






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