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My Marriage Ended Because of an Affair. How Will This Affect My Divorce?

 Posted on August 05, 2022 in Divorce

Naperville Spousal Support AttorneyThe American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that about 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men admit to extramarital affairs. An even higher percentage admit to non-sexual “emotional affairs.” While some marriages can survive adultery, an affair often spells the end of a marriage. If you are getting divorced because you or your spouse cheated, it is important to understand how this can affect the divorce.

Illinois Laws Regarding Marital Infidelity and Divorce

Each state has its own divorce laws. As of 2016, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning there are no fault-based grounds for divorce. When you fill out your divorce paperwork, you will cite “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds for the split. Infidelity does not automatically influence the court’s decisions regarding the division of marital property, spousal support, child custody, or other divorce issues. However, there are certain situations in which an affair can impact the divorce outcome.

Four Ways an Affair Can Potentially Affect Your Divorce Case

When a marriage ends because a spouse had an affair, it is important for both spouses to know how this may influence their divorce. An extramarital affair may lead to:

  • Increased hostility between the spouses – Some marriages end because the spouses gradually grow apart and then make a mutual decision to break up. If your marriage ended much more dramatically than this, an amicable, cooperative divorce may be unlikely or even impossible. Spouses going through a high-conflict divorce are encouraged to retain skilled divorce lawyers who can provide the legal support and assistance they need.

  • Accusations of dissipation – Dissipation of assets occurs when a spouse spends marital funds or uses marital property in a wasteful or reckless manner near the end of the marriage. Buying gifts for a secret lover by using a joint savings account, selling marital property to fund a vacation with an affair partner, and using marital funds to pay a boyfriend or girlfriend’s bills may all be examples of dissipation. If a spouse dissipates marital assets, the court may redistribute marital property to account for the dissipation.

  • Child custody complications – Illinois law explicitly states that parental conduct that does not affect the child does not affect the court’s decision regarding parental responsibilities or parenting time. However, if a parent lives with a new partner and the partner represents some type of danger to the children, the court may restrict the parent’s parenting time or take other action needed to protect the child.

  • Spousal maintenance consequences – In Illinois, a spouse who receives spousal maintenance or alimony loses his or her entitlement to maintenance if he or she cohabitates with a significant other or gets remarried.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced because of an affair, our Wheaton divorce lawyers can represent you during your divorce and advocate on your behalf during property division determinations, child custody disputes, spousal maintenance negotiations, and other divorce matters. Call 630-364-4046 for a free consultation.



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