How Is Adultery Handled in an Illinois Divorce

Posted by Erin Birt | Nov 18, 2022 | 0 Comments


How Is Adultery Handled in an Illinois Divorce?

In marriage, adultery is a hurt that sometimes cannot be healed. It is a betrayal of trust that affects not only the married couple, but any children as well. The feelings of hurt, anger, and sadness accompanying infidelity can add to the stress and combative nature of the divorce.

Adultery is one of the most common reasons for divorce in the nation. In Illinois, adultery is technically a misdemeanor offense, but prosecutors have little interest in pursuing the matter. Since 2016, Illinois has been a no-fault divorce state. This means that irreconcilable differences are the grounds for divorce recognized in the case of adultery. There is no reason to prove or disprove a spouse's affair.

Irreconcilable differences mean the relationship problems cannot be resolved. It is proven either by simply testifying that the problems cannot be resolved or showing that you've been living separately for a minimum of six months. The court will then determine that reconciliation efforts have been unsuccessful and that future attempts would not be in the family's best interest.

Financial Implications of Adultery on Divorce

While adultery has no effect on the reason behind a divorce, it can become an issue if the unfaithful partner has financially betrayed their partner. The spouse can claim there was a dissipation of assets. Dissipation happens when marital property is used for the benefit of one spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage while it is going through a breakdown. In the case of adultery, money spent on boyfriends or girlfriends can be considered in the final allocation of marital debts and assets.

Effects of Adultery on Parenting

When parents are in crisis, so are their children. Hopefully, parents will be strong and mature enough to stand united in helping their children through this challenging time. Adultery, in most circumstances, has no effect on custody and visitation in a divorce case unless there is a risk to the children. For example, if a spouse's girlfriend or boyfriend has an arrest record for domestic abuse or is a registered sex offender, the court may limit a parent's custody or require supervised visits.

Seeking a Divorce Because of Adultery

Emotions such as shock, anger, and grief are common upon learning of a spouse's infidelity. Working through these emotions takes time and effort. You might benefit from individual therapy to help you decide what to do next. Should you want to pursue a divorce, we can help you put together a divorce plan and guide you through the legal process. Birt Law can also inform on whether adultery is relevant to the equitable distribution of assets or parenting. Because Illinois is now a no-fault state, we can offer paths that may avoid going through the courts if there are no unusual financial assets or parenting issues. We also offer faith-based divorce services and can discuss with you how to address fault during the negotiation of your divorce. 

Our wellness services can also help you lessen stress and find balance during this painful time. With patience and self-care, you'll be better able to cope and find peace after fidelity. Our priority is to help you reset your life and look forward to a brighter future. Contact us today to start your plan


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About the Author

Erin Birt

Since 2003, Erin N. Birt, J.D., CADC has focused her practice on parenting time, divorce, mediation, and substance abuse issues. Ms. Birt's unique background in both family law and addictions counseling help her clients successfully navigate the complex issues of coparenting and divorce. Ms. Birt also devotes her time to presenting at continuing education seminars for attorneys, mediators, and counselors.


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