location 1580 N. Northwest Highway, Suite 12, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Facebook Linkedin
George Skuros
Free Consultations
phone 312-884-1222

Does Infidelity Impact an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on July 08, 2024 in Divorce

Blog ImageMost people would be surprised to find that, technically speaking, you can be jailed for committing adultery in the state of Illinois. In fact, under the current law, you could face up to a year in jail for the offense. Practically speaking, this law is rarely ever enforced, and the wording of the law is fairly ambiguous.

Even if a prosecutor chose to charge someone for the act of adultery, making those charges stick would be next to impossible. While prosecution for adultery is practically non-existent, there are plenty of angry spouses in the middle of a divorce who want to know whether their spouse’s indiscretion could give them an advantage.

Those dealing with an adulterous spouse should speak to a knowledgeable Chicago divorce lawyer who can listen to their story and help create a solid plan moving forward. While adultery generally makes little difference in an Illinois divorce, if there was dissipation of assets because of adultery, this could make a difference. An attorney can help you sort out the details of your divorce, protecting your rights and your future every step of the way.

Will Adultery Affect My Illinois Divorce?

Since Illinois is a no-fault state, any form of marital misconduct cannot be considered when dividing property, awarding alimony, determining child custody, or setting child support. As of January 1, 2016, Public Act 99-90 made the state a no-fault divorce state, eliminating the need to state "grounds" for divorce, like abandonment, habitual drunkenness, substance abuse, impotence, mental or physical cruelty, or adultery.

The Act was largely positive since "fault" has to be proven, while no-fault states the spouses have irreconcilable differences. A husband or wife who has put up with a spouse who has committed adultery on more than one occasion may feel they deserve more property, more alimony, or a better child custody arrangement. While evidence of an affair is not sufficient to alter the terms of a divorce, the dissipation of marital assets is another thing entirely.

What is the Dissipation of Assets?

If a spouse can prove that an adulterous affair during the marriage resulted in far fewer marital assets or had a significant bearing on the mental or physical well-being of the children, the court may take that into consideration. A judge could find that a spouse who overspent on luxury items or took on more debt than they could afford is guilty of dissipation of marital assets. Dissipation of marital assets occurs when one spouse consumes, gives away, transfers, mismanages, converts, or otherwise adversely affects property that would have fallen under equitable distribution laws.   

When making a dissipation of assets claim during a divorce, it is necessary to prove that the expenditures were made during the marriage, the funds were spent on non-marital purposes (gifts, hotel rooms, airline tickets, or other expenditures spent on a paramour). If the court finds marital funds were improperly spent on an adulterous relationship, it will adjust the division of property to offset the amount spent on the relationship. Cash transfers or purchasing a house or apartment for a paramour will also be offset during the division of marital assets.

More rarely, an adulterous affair could potentially impact child custody if the affair is ongoing and could have a provable detrimental effect on the child. Such an effect can be difficult to prove, as the courts will first and foremost consider the best interests of the children. If the person the spouse is having an affair with is a chronic drug user or has a conviction for child molestation or something similar, then it could potentially become a barrier to custody.   

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Cook County, IL Divorce Lawyer

The lawyers at The Law Office of George J. Skuros will help you really understand the legal issues at hand so that you will be prepared and have a realistic idea of the potential outcomes. We will fight for the best-case scenario, and if your spouse’s adulterous affair has resulted in a dissipation of marital assets, we will work hard on your behalf to make the deficit up during the division of assets. Our Chicago, IL family law attorneys will discuss your options and answer your questions during your free consultation. Call The Law Office of George J. Skuros at 312-884-1222 today.

Share this post:
Back to Top