In times past, people had to prove fault when they wanted to get divorced. This meant bringing evidence before the court that their spouse was abusive, cruel, neglectful, or had abandoned the family. Now, however, thanks to an updated family law code, the only “grounds” for divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences, meaning that the relationship has broken down and does not stand a chance of recovery.
On a theoretical level, at least, most people would agree that infidelity is a good enough reason to end a marriage. When it actually happens, however, people often feel more torn; is one instance of infidelity enough to end a marriage, especially one that has gone on for many years, involves young children, and is generally happy? What about ongoing infidelity? While only you can answer this question, knowing a little about how cheating can impact divorce proceedings in Illinois may help you make the decision about divorce for yourself.
How Does Cheating Change the Divorce Process in Illinois?
Although spouses can no longer formally accuse each other of cheating as a reason to get divorced, cheating, and other behaviors commonly associated with it, can still affect divorce proceedings.
First, if your spouse used your marital money to fund their clandestine relationship, you may rightfully feel angry and as though you should not have to lose out on your share of that money just because your spouse already spent it. If you can prove your spouse’s wasteful behavior – known as dissipation – in court, the judge is likely to agree with you and order your share of the marital estate to be adjusted according to whatever money was wasted by your spouse.
Second, if your spouse was cruel, abusive, or neglectful to you or your children in addition to being unfaithful in your marriage, you can bring evidence of this to the court and ask for an Order of Protection (also known as a restraining order). You may also ask a judge to consider whether your spouse should be around your children for parenting time, particularly if your spouse has any history of endangering them.
Likewise, compulsive behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse often travel hand-in-hand with compulsive infidelity. If your spouse could be unsafe around your children because of substance abuse, your case could likely be impacted by that information.
If none of these behaviors were present and your spouse simply carried on an affair for months or years, you are still justified in feeling angry and betrayed and in wondering whether your marriage can be saved. While an Illinois divorce lawyer cannot help you answer that question, you can get more information about what the divorce process could look like for you by talking with an attorney as soon as possible.
Call a Kane County, IL Divorce Lawyer for a No-Pressure Consultation
If you are considering leaving your marriage and wondering what kind of implications that would have for your future, schedule a consultation with a St. Charles, IL family lawyer with [[title]]. We will walk you through your options without pressuring you to move in one direction or the other. Our consultations are confidential and could help you get a clearer grasp on the right decision for you. Call us today at [[phone]] or contact us online.