The Possible Effects of Marital Misconduct on Your Divorce

Couples get divorced for countless reasons. Some simply drift apart while others were never really compatible from the beginning. In some cases, however, destructive behavior on the part of one spouse leads to the eventual breakdown of the marriage. While the law in Illinois officially recognizes divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, there are some ways in which marital misconduct could affect the process and your divorce judgment.

No Direct Impact on Financial Matters

While there are many types of marital misconduct, the most common usually include infidelity and abuse. These behaviors can cause serious emotional and psychological damage, as well as physical injury in the case of abuse. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, however, explicitly prohibits a court from taking such conduct into account when dividing marital property or determining whether to award maintenance to one spouse. This simply means that you are not entitled to more marital assets or additional spousal support just because your spouse cheated or abused you.

Seeing the Big Picture

Even though a court cannot consider marital misconduct directly, there are ways in which your spouse’s behavior can impact the outcome of your divorce. For example, if your spouse has cheated on you, he or she may not want that information to become public knowledge. Therefore, he or she may be much more willing to reach a negotiated agreement and to keep personal details from becoming part of the public record of a courtroom proceeding. He or she may even be ready to concede terms that are more favorable to you in order to do so.

Consider the Children

Abusive behavior toward a spouse does not always translate to abuse toward children, but if your spouse has shown a pattern of abusive behavior with your children, his or her parenting time may be limited by the court. If you are granted primary decision-making and residential responsibilities for your children, you may not be in a position to go back to work full-time. To compensate for this, you may be able to reasonably ask for a larger portion of the marital estate or for maintenance to help you provide for yourself and your children.

Getting the Help You Need

Divorce can be a complicated and exhausting process, especially if you try to handle it alone. The risks, however, are too great, and we are prepared to provide responsible, honest guidance every step of the way. Contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 708-518-8200 and let us help you protect your future.