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How Do Extramarital Affairs Influence an Illinois Divorce Settlement?

Posted on in Divorce

Burr Ridge divorce attorney asset divisionResearch shows that approximately 60 percent of married individuals have committed some form of infidelity during their marriage. Marital infidelity may range from brief emotional affairs to long-term extramarital relationships. While some married couples can overcome an affair and rebuild a trusting relationship, others cannot and choose to divorce. If you have decided to end your marriage and infidelity played a role in the decision, you probably have questions about how the cheating will impact your divorce. Affairs can lead to legal implications as well as emotional complications during the divorce process.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

The spouse initiating a divorce is called the petitioner according to Illinois law. He or she petitions the court to grant the divorce. Traditionally, a spouse would need a valid reason or “grounds” for requesting the divorce. These grounds included impotence, abandonment, severe alcohol or drug abuse, mental cruelty, adultery, and other issues that led to the destruction of the marriage relationship. In 2016, Illinois eliminated all fault-based grounds. It is now a “pure no-fault” state and the only ground for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Although adultery is no longer a legal reason for divorce, there are still several ways that infidelity may influence the outcome of your divorce.

Dissipation of Assets

Illinois law defines the “dissipation of assets” as the use of marital funds for a purpose that does not benefit the marriage during a time when the marriage is experiencing an “irretrievable breakdown.” One common example of dissipation occurs when a spouse spends a great deal of money on an affair partner. If a divorcing spouse buys expensive gifts for his boyfriend or girlfriend or takes an affair partner on a luxurious vacation, the other spouse may have a valid dissipation claim. If the innocent spouse and his or her lawyer can prove that the other spouse dissipated assets, the innocent spouse may be entitled to a proportionally larger share of the marital assets during property division.

Child Custody Concerns

Courts are typically prohibited from considering a spouse’s infidelity or other marital misconduct when determining issues of child custody or child support. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If a spouse has moved in with an affair partner who may present a risk of danger to the children, this can absolutely influence child custody decisions. If a parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is a convicted felon, registered sex offender, or has a history of child abuse, the court may consider these factors when issuing an allocation judgment for parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Contact a Cook County Divorce Lawyer

Adultery is no longer a ground for divorce in Illinois, however, this does not mean that cheating will not influence your divorce proceedings. The skilled Burr Ridge divorce attorneys at Botti Marinaccio, LTD offer dependable representation during high-conflict divorce cases as well as divorce involving dissipation of assets and other complex financial situations. Regardless of the reasons you are ending your marriage, we can help protect your rights to your fair share of the marital property. To learn more, call our office today at 630-575-8585 today to schedule a confidential consultation.



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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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