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DuPage County asset dissipation attorney for infidelityMost people know of at least one relationship that has ended due to infidelity. Statistics about the prevalence of cheating vary, but various studies suggest that about 25 percent of marriages involve extramarital sexual infidelity. If your marriage is coming to an end because of an affair, it is important to know how this may impact your divorce. Although Illinois no longer recognizes adultery as a grounds for divorce, there are still several ways in which cheating or infidelity can influence a divorce case.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

Although we rarely think about it in these terms, when you get divorced, you are essentially asking the state to terminate your marriage. In the past, many states required an allegation of fault in order to grant a divorce. Fault-based grounds included issues like adultery, impotence, or abuse. However, every U.S. state now has the option for no-fault divorce. In Illinois, fault-based grounds for divorce have been eliminated entirely. The only grounds for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” While you will not list infidelity as the reason for your marriage ending, an extramarital affair can still greatly affect your divorce.

Financial Issues and Affairs

Asset dissipation occurs when a spouse uses funds or property for something not related to the marriage while the marriage is experiencing a “breakdown.” If a spouse buys an affair partner expensive gifts or sells property to finance a vacation with him or her, the spouse may be guilty of dissipating assets. The dissipating spouse may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the funds which were wasted. This is typically accomplished by awarding a proportionally greater share of marital property to the wronged spouse. Originally, dissipation only referred to misused marital assets. Case law has since established that dissipation may involve the misuse of marital or nonmarital property.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for infidelity and asset dissipationCheating and affairs in a marriage often lead to divorce. In some cases, spouses file for divorce immediately after the affair comes to light. In other cases, a couple may try to salvage their marriage after an affair, but they may ultimately decide that too much damage to the relationship has occurred. If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be unsure of what to do. Whether the unfaithful partner was you or your spouse, you probably have questions about how marital infidelity can influence an Illinois divorce. Regardless of the exact circumstances, infidelity can lead to additional contention and confusion in a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer can help.  

Grounds for Divorce

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. The state’s laws previously included fault-based “grounds” or reasons for divorce, such as abandonment, cruelty, and infidelity. However, Illinois has since eliminated these grounds. Now, the only grounds available when filing for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” Infidelity or other reasons for ending their marriage will not be included in a spouse’s petition for divorce.

Financial Implications of an Affair

Although there are no longer fault-based grounds for divorce in Illinois, a spouse’s infidelity can still impact the divorce. If a spouse used marital funds or property to finance their affair, the other spouse may file a “dissipation of assets” claim against him or her. According to Illinois case law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital property on a purpose not related to the marriage while the marriage is undergoing an irreversible breakdown. Funds spent on gifts or vacations with an affair partner may be considered dissipated assets. During the divorce process, the spouse who dissipated the assets may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the value of those assets.

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