How Cheating Affects Divorce Proceedings

cheating, Aurora family law attorneyAlong with lack of commitment and arguing, infidelity joins the ranks of the top three reasons a marriage results in divorce. In one survey, up to 55 percent of the those who were divorcing cited that infidelity was among the primary culprits. Marriage counsellors everywhere are always watching for signs of infidelity, stating that it nearly always starts as an emotional affair that results in a physical one. However things progressed to that point, the point is that the couple now intends to split. Can cheating have a large impact on divorce outcomes?

Effects on Divorce

Unlike some other states, Illinois is considered to be a “no fault” state when it comes to dissolution of marriage. The idea that you can divorce each other and you win everything because your spouse cheated does not ring true in most cases in the Land of Lincoln. Beginning in 2016, a divorce can only be granted in the state on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences.

All this means is that the marriage is too far gone past saving. No amount of counselling or time will heal the damage done. It also should be noted that both spouses do not need to agree to the divorce. The law is very modern in that it only takes one of the two partners to believe without a doubt that the marriage is not worth saving and a divorce can be granted.

Fault grounds for divorce still exist in other states and may include:

  • Abandonment;
  • Abuse;
  • Chemical Dependency; or
  • Adultery.

These states will also say that the marriage ended due to marital misconduct and will even go so far as to name the offender. They take significantly more time in the courtroom as the cases must be heard before a judgement can be made. This, in most cases, ultimately prolongs the healing process and raises tension to unhealthy levels.

Adultery and Alimony

The common misconception is that if your spouse cheated, he or she has to pay you. Illinois law does not agree with this. Alimony—also known as maintenance—is often awarded as a part of the divorce process, but the law prevents a court from taking marital misconduct into account. The intention for alimony is not to punish for wrongdoings; it is to assist the other spouse and keep them both out of poverty. Judges have the responsibility to interpret the situations of both spouses and determine whether alimony should be paid to assist the spouse with less money until they become financially stable on their own. Some of the factors that a judge will consider are:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage and each spouse’s individual ability to maintain that on their own;
  • How much the receiving spouse assisted in helping the paying spouse achieve their current financial status;
  • Each spouse’s financial ability to pay;
  • The needs of each spouse based on the established standard of living;
  • Debts and assets; and
  • The length of the marriage.

There are many more contributing factors to the final ruling of the payment of maintenance, but adultery is not one of them. It is based strictly on the financial needs of each spouse and any children involved, not the events that cause the dissolution.

If you are an Illinois resident and have decided to divorce due to indiscretions of your spouse, you may be experiencing a variety of emotions, ranging from shock to anger and everywhere in between. Having someone on your side who understands the legal process can not only be an emotional relief, it can make the difference in you and your children’s futures. It is important to have an attorney who will make your needs and those of your children their top priorities. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer today at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. and get the responsible guidance you deserve.



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