palatine divorce lawyerResearch shows that extramarital affairs are more common than many would suspect, and many lead to divorce. Whether it is a single instance of infidelity or a long-term secret affair, cheating can have a significant impact on a marriage. 

As you plan for your divorce, it is important to understand Illinois divorce laws and how the infidelity may impact your case. States vary significantly with regard to these matters, and laws change over time, so it is important to be educated. For personalized guidance regarding your divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.

Dissipation of Assets

Unlike in other states, Illinois courts do not consider adultery or other forms of marital misconduct when determining how to divide property. In most cases, the property division process will not be affected by a spouse’s infidelity. However, there is one important exception. If a spouse spent a significant amount of money in connection with the affair, the other spouse may have a valid claim for dissipation of assets. The cheating spouse may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the dissipated funds.

Difficulty Working Cooperatively

Unsurprisingly, adultery can create a lack of trust between the spouses. Spouses who are divorcing because of an affair may find it very difficult to work together to resolve issues such as child custody or asset division. If you are struggling to reach an agreement about one or more divorce issues, work with a divorce attorney who can help you negotiate a settlement or, if needed, represent you during divorce litigation.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance or alimony refers to payments that a spouse makes to the other spouse during the divorce process or after the divorce is finalized. Sometimes, spouses negotiate the terms of a spousal maintenance arrangement. In other cases, the court awarded spousal maintenance based on the factors listed in Illinois law. 

A spouse who gets remarried or cohabitates with a romantic partner can lose his or her spousal maintenance entitlement. If the spouse who had an affair plans on starting a new life with their new boyfriend or girlfriend and moving in together, they may find that their spousal maintenance payments are cut short.

Child Custody

In the vast majority of cases, infidelity does not impact child custody issues such as parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Courts make decisions about child custody decisions based on what is best for the child. However, if a parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend has a conviction for a crime involving a child or is a registered sex offender, this can certainly impact a court’s determination regarding custody.

Heightened Emotions

When a marriage ends because of an affair, both parties may experience a wide range of difficult emotions, including guilt, anger, resentment, sadness, and more. Divorce is already an emotionally charged issue, but divorce resulting from infidelity is often especially hostile and emotionally- challenging for both parties. In addition to an experienced divorce lawyer, consider working with a therapist or other mental health professional to cope with these difficult emotions and get through your divorce as painlessly as possible.

Contact our Palatine Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced because you or your spouse cheated, it is important to be aware of the ways that this can affect your divorce. For personalized guidance during your divorce, contact the skilled Arlington Heights divorce attorney at the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. Call 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.