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Adultery as Grounds for Divorce

Posted on March 01, 2018 in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysThere is some confusion in the general public as to the extent that a spouse’s adultery can affect a divorce case. Television and movies often show an enraged husband or wife discovering that their partner is having an affair and yelling about how they are going to take the house and have full custody of their children. Although adultery is still frowned upon by society, it is usually irrelevant to divorce proceedings.

No-Fault State

Since the beginning of 2016, Illinois has been what is called a “pure no-fault state.” A no-fault state is one which does not require divorcing couples to report the reason or “grounds” that they are seeking the divorce. In the past, things like mental cruelty or adultery could be reported as the official reason that the marriage ended. Today, all divorcing couples in Illinois as assumed to be divorcing on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”  More specifically, a divorce will only be granted when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”

Adultery and Allocation of Parenting Responsibilities

Many spouses incorrectly assume that if their partner cheats on him or her, that the non-cheating spouse will automatically receive custody, or parental responsibility, of their children. This is not true. In fact, adultery generally does not affect child custody or support decisions at all. The only time that a spouse’s affair will prevent him or her from enjoying parenting time is if the affair somehow puts the child in danger. Courts will always make decisions about child custody and parenting time based on what is in the child’s best interest. If a husband or wife’s affair does not affect their relationship with their children, it is not considered by the judge presiding over a divorce.

Money Spent During the Affair

If you find that your spouse spent a considerable amount of money on a secret girlfriend or boyfriend, you may be able to recover some of those funds. If a spouse spent marital funds for a purpose not related to the marriage when there were irreconcilable differences in the marriage, the spouse can be required to replace the money which will then be divided in the divorce judgment. This is referred to as “dissipation.” Written notice must be given to the dissipating spouse describing the dissipation, and then he or she has the burden of proving that he or she did not spend marital funds innapropriately. If a judge finds the spouse guilty of dissipation, he or she will be required to reimburse the marital estate for the amount spent.

A Different Kind of Law Firm

If you are planning to divorce an unfaithful spouse, the dedicated attorneys at A. Traub & Associates can help. Contact one of our experienced family law attorneys in Arlington Heights today by calling 847-749-4182.



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