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Cheating and Divorce: Legal Implications

 Posted on June 18, 2024 in Divorce

Wheaton Divorce LawyerWhen infidelity shatters trust in a marriage, the emotional fallout can be devastating. But if you are considering divorce in Illinois, it is important to understand how the legal system views cheating. Contrary to what many may believe, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that allegations of adultery do not affect the legal proceedings as significantly as they might in other states.

However, things may get more interesting if your spouse dissipates assets, such as spending large amounts of marital assets on the affair. Discuss with your attorney the best way to move forward to ensure your rights are protected.

No-Fault Divorce: What it Means for Cheating Spouses

In Illinois, the grounds for divorce do not include fault-based reasons like adultery. Instead, couples can file for divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences.” This difference means that courts typically do not consider why the marriage fell apart. Rather than attributing blame to one party, the focus remains on the equitable distribution of assets, custody arrangements, and support obligations.

The Financial Consequences of Adultery: Dissipation of Marital Assets

While the cheating itself will not impact the legal proceedings, there can be significant financial ramifications. If a spouse has spent marital funds on an affair, this expenditure can be considered a dissipation of marital assets. Dissipation is the wasting or misusing of marital property for a purpose unrelated to the marriage when the marriage is undergoing an irreparable breakdown.

To claim dissipation, the aggrieved spouse must provide evidence that the cheating partner spent marital assets extravagantly or irresponsibly on the extramarital affair. This could include lavish gifts, vacations, or even significant expenses in maintaining the affair. Courts require clear documentation to prove that such expenditures were a misuse of marital funds.

Reimbursement and Equitable Division of Assets

Once dissipation is established, the court can order the cheating spouse to reimburse the marital estate. This reimbursement is intended to make up for the lost assets, ensuring that the aggrieved spouse receives a fair share during the division of marital property.

It is crucial to note that Illinois courts aim to divide assets equitably. As a result, any decision regarding dissipation will be factored into the overall distribution of property. The court will look at the big picture, ensuring that the other’s financial misconduct does not unfairly disadvantage the innocent spouse.

Contact Our Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

While the emotional impact of cheating cannot be denied, it is clear that the legal implications in Illinois are more focused on financial fairness. For legal assistance in the dissolution of your marriage, the trusted DuPage County, IL divorce attorneys with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help. Call 630-462-9500 for a private consultation today.

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