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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.

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Burr Ridge high-conflict divorce attorney

Marriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, a married couple simply grows apart and realizes that their marriage is no longer beneficial to either partner. Other times, spouses divorce soon after their wedding because they quickly realized that getting married was a mistake. Many marriages also end because an adulterous spouse is having an affair. If you are considering getting a divorce, it is important to know the grounds for divorce in Illinois. Major changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) took effect in July of 2016, including an overhaul of the “grounds,” or reasons, a person can seek a divorce in Illinois. Read on to learn the current basis for filing for a divorce in Illinois and how instances of infidelity or other breaches of trust could affect your divorce proceedings.

Illinois is a Pure “No-Fault” State

Prior to the 2016 revamp of the IMDMA, there were several fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois. They included adultery, impotence, a spouse infecting the other with a sexually transmitted disease, bigamy, alcohol or drug abuse, extreme physical or mental cruelty, a felony conviction, abandonment for at least a one-year period, and attempted murder of a spouse by the other. There was also a no-fault ground for divorce called “irreconcilable differences.” In 2016, all of the fault-based grounds for divorce were eliminated. Today, Illinois is a “pure no-fault state” when it comes to divorce. The only legal reason divorcing couples can site is “irreconcilable differences” which caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no hope for reconciliation.

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Western Springs child support attorney

If your marriage is coming to an end because your spouse cheated on you, you may wonder how this could affect the divorce process. Illinois is a “pure no-fault” state, which means that there are no fault-based grounds for legally terminating your matrimonial union. If you and your spouse are getting divorced in Illinois, you will simply list “irreconcilable differences” as to the reason that you are seeking a divorce. However, marital infidelity can still affect your divorce proceedings in several important ways.

Assets Wasted During an Affair Can Constitute Dissipation

Illinois law prohibits courts from considering cheating or other types of marital misconduct when making property division, child support, or spousal maintenance decisions. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. According to the Illinois Supreme Court, “dissipation” occurs when a spouse uses marital funds or property “for a purpose unrelated to the marriage” while the marriage is “undergoing an irretrievable breakdown." Dissipated assets can include money spent on gifts or vacations for a secret lover, property which was sold in order to fund the affair, or other assets which were used to benefit the paramour. If you and your legal counsel can prove that your spouse dissipated assets, you may receive a proportionately larger share of the marital property in the divorce.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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