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Lombard divorce lawyer irreconcilable differencesThroughout the history of marriage, adultery has been socially frowned upon as a betrayal of trust, and it often leads to divorce. Public opinion and religious beliefs are often believed to be the driving factor behind these negative views, but the laws regarding marriage also play a role. However, many people do not understand how these laws may affect them.

The Legality of Adultery

As is common with most laws, the way adultery is defined and handled varies from state to state. What many fail to realize about adultery is that in Illinois, it is considered against the law and can result in legal repercussions. Illinois is one of 18 states that have made adultery a crime. Illinois law defines the act of adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse, if:

  • The person is married and knows the other person involved in such intercourse is not his spouse; or 
  • The person is not married and knows that the other person involved in such intercourse is married.

Based on the law, if two parties engage in such action, and their actions are “open and notorious,” they are committing a misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to a year in prison. However, even though this law exists, it rarely results in criminal prosecution, so a person is unlikely to actually receive jail time for their extramarital activities. 

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Posted on 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.”

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no-fault divorce, irreconcilable differences, Kane County Family Law AttorneyHave you reached the point in your marriage where you have done everything you can do? Communication has broken down and is has become clear that you and your spouse are no longer happy together. You may have considered the idea of divorce but thought you did not have a valid reason to file. Your spouse is not abusive, did not cheat, and does not have issues with drugs or alcohol, so you might be thinking that divorce is not really an option. Illinois law, however, provides for the possibility of a no-fault divorce that just might address your particular situation.

It is relatively safe to assume most people realize that state law permits a court to grant a divorce in cases with justifiable grounds. Such grounds include adultery, physical or mental abuse or cruelty, substance abuse, impotence, conviction of a serious crime, and abandonment, among others. Some may not know, however, that the law also provides a mechanism for dissolving a failed marriage, even in the absence of negative actions or behaviors.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act permits a divorce to be granted on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences," as long as certain criteria has been met:

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