Making a Cheating Spouse Pay in Divorce

cheating spouse, Aurora divorce lawyerIf your marriage has been affected by a cheating partner, it is only natural to want some type of retribution. Some individuals will use their partner’s infidelity as a justification for their own adulterous acts—though most relationship experts advise against revenge cheating. Others, especially those who have decided to end their marriage, may believe that a financial penalty should be in order. While the law in Illinois does not allow the court to award extra money or property to the victim of a cheating spouse, there are some ways your unfaithful partner can be held at least partially responsible.

Infidelity Clauses in a Prenuptial Agreement

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act expressly forbids a judge from taking marital misconduct—like cheating—into account when dividing marital property or determining spousal support in a divorce case. There is, however, nothing that says that you and your spouse cannot agree to penalties for infidelity in advance. An increasing number of prenuptial agreements around the country are being drafted with infidelity clauses that prescribe a monetary or property consequence for acts of unfaithfulness. For example, you could agree—voluntarily, of course—that if you cheat, you forfeit a certain percentage of the marital estate that would otherwise be allocated to you. As long as your agreement is reasonably fair, the court would be hesitant to supersede it.

Dissipation Claim

For those without a such an agreement in place, there is still a way to hold your cheating spouse responsible for his or her behavior, though the result may be somewhat less satisfying. If your spouse spent marital assets—including his or her own income, in most situations—on an extramarital affair, he or she may be required to pay the amount back to the marital estate. You would need to file dissipation claim with the court in a proceeding for the division of marital property. The claim must show that your marriage had broken down and that your spouse was spending marital assets in ways that were unrelated to the marriage or regular personal expenses. The court has the discretion to order your spouse to reimburse the marital estate for what was dissipated, though additional penalties and sanctions are unlikely.

Protect Yourself

Dealing with a cheating spouse can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. It can also raise your suspicions about how he or she will act during the process of divorce. That is why you should work with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer. At our law firm, we understand the importance of protecting your rights, especially if your spouse has already shown a propensity for being dishonest. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., for a confidential consultation by calling [[phone]] today.



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