Infidelity and Divorce: My Spouse Cheated, What Now?
There are few things in the world more difficult to describe than the hurt of betrayal associated with infidelity. The trust that is destroyed as a result may take years to rebuild, if it can even be restored. For couples who are dating, an act of infidelity can easily end the relationship. For those who are married, a cheating spouse can certainly precipitate divorce, as the couple may no longer envision a future together.
Many couples faced with episodes of infidelity in their marriages are able to seek counseling and work toward reestablishing marital trust. Eventually, they may be able to move past such actions and remain married. Other couples, however, may find that infidelity is more than an indiscretion; it may be a symptom of a larger pattern of unhappiness in the marriage, often indicating the couple would be better apart.
In addition to the emotional pain that infidelity can bring to a marriage, a single act of adultery is grounds for divorce under Illinois law. While divorce on fault grounds in the state is becoming less common, with more couples opting to cite irreconcilable differences, divorce due to adultery can be completed without the necessary separation period associated with no-fault proceedings.
Spousal Support and Division of Property
Although the law permits divorce on the grounds of marital infidelity, the court may not consider marital misconduct, including cheating, in other arrangements related to divorce. Concerns regarding child issues, spousal support, and division of property must be decided based on their own merit and guidelines, with no sanctions applied for the unfaithful actions of either spouse. This means that the court is not permitted to grant larger amounts of spousal support to a wife simply because her husband cheated on her. Likewise, while she may be allocated in the marital home during property division, it may not be due to his unfaithfulness; it must be based on equitable distribution guidelines.
The only related exception, under Illinois law, would be the possibility of a dissipation claim by one spouse. A wife, for example, may claim that while the marriage was breaking down, her husband was spending, or dissipating, marital property toward his extra-marital affair. In ruling on a dissipation claim, the court may determine that marital assets were dissipated and must be offset in the division of property, but only the financial consideration and not the actual marital misconduct should be a factor.
If your spouse has committed acts of infidelity and you would like more information about taking the next step, a qualified lawyer can help. At Kezy & Associates, we have helped many clients work through difficult situations and we look forward to assisting you. Contact an experienced Will County family law attorney today to schedule your free consultation. We offer three convenient office locations to meet your needs in Orland Park, Chicago, and Crete.