Most people know of at least one relationship that has ended due to infidelity. Statistics about the prevalence of cheating vary, but various studies suggest that about 25 percent of marriages involve extramarital sexual infidelity. If your marriage is coming to an end because of an affair, it is important to know how this may impact your divorce. Although Illinois no longer recognizes adultery as a grounds for divorce, there are still several ways in which cheating or infidelity can influence a divorce case.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

Although we rarely think about it in these terms, when you get divorced, you are essentially asking the state to terminate your marriage. In the past, many states required an allegation of fault in order to grant a divorce. Fault-based grounds included issues like adultery, impotence, or abuse. However, every U.S. state now has the option for no-fault divorce. In Illinois, fault-based grounds for divorce have been eliminated entirely. The only grounds for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” While you will not list infidelity as the reason for your marriage ending, an extramarital affair can still greatly affect your divorce.

Financial Issues and Affairs

Asset dissipation occurs when a spouse uses funds or property for something not related to the marriage while the marriage is experiencing a “breakdown.” If a spouse buys an affair partner expensive gifts or sells property to finance a vacation with him or her, the spouse may be guilty of dissipating assets. The dissipating spouse may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the funds which were wasted. This is typically accomplished by awarding a proportionally greater share of marital property to the wronged spouse. Originally, dissipation only referred to misused marital assets. Case law has since established that dissipation may involve the misuse of marital or nonmarital property.

Contentiousness During Your Divorce  

Whether you were engaged in an extramarital affair, or you were the innocent spouse, it is likely that the affair has increased the level of animosity between you and your spouse. When spouses are angry or resentful toward each other, it makes coming to an agreement about divorce issues even more difficult. You and your spouse may find it nearly impossible to discuss the terms of your divorce without the discussion devolving into a shouting match.  A skilled lawyer can help you negotiate divorce concerns such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, property and debt distribution, and spousal maintenance and ensure that your rights are protected throughout your case.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney

While there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois, there are still several ways that an affair can influence your divorce case. For sound legal advice and strong representation during your divorce, contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer from The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. Call 630-462-9500 for a confidential consultation.


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