Will an Illinois Divorce Court Punish a Cheating Spouse?

It is very difficult to know for sure what percentage of people have ever cheated on their spouse. Part of the reason is due to the various definitions that couples may have for “cheating.” What one person may see as unfaithful behavior, another person may not, and vice versa. From a practical standpoint, large-scale statistics mean very little to a person who recently discovered that their spouse has committed an act or acts of infidelity, however it may be defined in their particular relationship. The road to reconciliation can be long and difficult, and some couples never truly recover, with many opting for divorce.

Cheating Is Not Grounds for Divorce

It is easy to understand why a spouse who has been cheated would feel victimized and ready to end the marriage. Adultery, however, is no longer considered grounds for divorce in the state of Illinois. All divorces in the state are granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. This means that divorce courts are not interested in assigning fault to either spouse for the end of the marriage. On the positive side, it also means that a heartbroken spouse does not need to offer proof that his or her spouse was unfaithful. He or she can simply show that the marriage is beyond repair.

Extra Considerations?

If your spouse has been cheating on you, it is understandable that you would want the court to punish the behavior in some way. Technically, adultery is considered misdemeanor criminal offense in the state of Illinois, but very few prosecutors are willing to spend time and resources in seeking a conviction. Thus, the matter is typically placed in the hands of a family court, but the law gives the court very little, if any, room to account for marital indiscretions.

In fact, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is very clear regarding financial considerations such as asset division, spousal support, and child support. The law directs the court to make decisions on these matters “without regard to marital misconduct.” The same is generally true when the court turns its attention to parental responsibilities and parenting time. A spouse’s infidelity—or any other negative behaviors—are only to be considered if they threaten to compromise the child’s well-being or best interests.

Contact a Skilled Lawyer

Has your spouse’s infidelity caused you to rethink your future together? Before you make any important decisions, contact an experienced Orland Park divorce attorney. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation at Kezy & Associates today. We will help you understand your options and will work with you in finding the right choice for you and your family.