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Does Adultery Have an Effect on Divorce?
16 Jul, 2024

Does Adultery Have an Effect on Divorce?

In 2016, the State of Illinois updated its divorce laws – becoming a truly no-fault divorce state. This means that not only are you not required to base your divorce on any specific form of fault but that there is also no mechanism in the legal system for doing so. While there is a misdemeanor on the books in Illinois that makes adultery illegal, it is rarely – if ever – enforced. 

Divorces in Illinois are predicated on irreconcilable differences, and adultery is unlikely to play a role in how your divorce terms are decided. The fact of your spouse’s adultery, however, may leave you seeking a divorce (which is a personal decision that only you can make), and if this is the case, an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer can help you find the best path forward for you. 

Your Divorce Terms

Your no-fault divorce will be unique to the circumstances involved in your case, but the terms you will need to negotiate with your spouse (or through the court) are the same for every divorcing couple, including

The fact of your spouse’s adultery will not affect any of these terms – with one possible exception.

Your Marital Property

If your spouse is spending down your marital assets in the commission of his or her affair, the court can take this fact into account in relation to the equitable division of your marital property. Consider the following ways that adultery can get pricey:

  • If your spouse is renting hotel rooms and paying for fancy dinners out with the other person
  • If your spouse is paying for vacations with the other person
  • If your spouse is purchasing expensive gifts for the other person
  • If your spouse is contributing less overall to your family’s finances due to his or her affair

Even when the above expenses are moderately priced, they can quickly add up. If your spouse has been hiding these kinds of costs from you – which is common when an affair is involved – the court may view your spouse’s actions as a means of spending down your marital assets, which is unfair to you. Ultimately, both parties are responsible for sharing all financial information openly in the early stages of divorce, and failure to do so (such as expenses related to adultery) can affect how the judge in your case divides your marital assets. Further, if the amount involved is considerable, your spouse may be required to – in essence – reimburse you for your equitable share in those dissipated assets. 

Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Illinois Divorce Lawyer Today

If your spouse’s affair is leading you toward divorce, the compassionate and accomplished Illinois divorce lawyers at SLG Family Law recognize how difficult your situation is and are committed to skillfully advocating for your case’s most favorable resolution. For more information about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.



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