Many marriages in Illinois are ended either directly or indirectly through infidelity. When a spouse finds out their partner is cheating on them, they may feel an entire range of emotions, from surprise and anger to betrayal and confusion. One common question that spouses who have been cheated on have for their attorneys is whether they can pursue legal action against their cheating spouse or the spouse’s new partner.
In previous years, the answer was yes. Illinois used to allow jilted spouses to pursue something known as “heartbalm torts”. Essentially, these were civil claims allowing a spouse to sue a third party for damages caused by infidelity. But in 2015, Illinois abolished these so-called “heartbalm torts.” However, if your partner’s infidelity contributed to the loss of marital funds before the divorce, or suggests they may be unfit for parental responsibilities, you may still be able to take action.
Dissipation of Marital Assets
When one spouse uses marital assets for their own interests while the marriage is irretrievably breaking down, this may constitute a behavior known as “dissipation of marital assets.” Dissipation can occur after a couple has filed after divorce, but it can also happen when a marriage begins to permanently break down.
One of the most common examples of dissipation is when a person who is still married seeks out a relationship with a new partner. They then spend large sums of money on this partner. Buying expensive dinners, vacations, and gifts could all be considered dissipative behaviors. Illinois courts take dissipation seriously and, if a dissipation case is successfully proven, the spouse who engaged in dissipation may be required to compensate the other spouse with marital assets.
Problematic Behaviors and Parenting Time
Often a spouse will engage in infidelity during a phase sometimes known as a “mid-life crisis.” Reckless behavior does not usually occur in isolation. If a spouse is cheating and hiding their new relationship, they may also be making foolish purchases, drinking and driving, or taking part in other careless activities. When a spouse is behaving erratically, this may impact their ability to receive parenting time. It is very important to never make false claims about a spouse’s behavior in court and to provide evidence for any alleged behaviors that could endanger a child.
Call an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
Although you may not be able to sue your ex or their new partner for causing the breakdown of your marriage, you can still advocate for a fair deal in your divorce decree. With the help of an experienced Wheaton, IL divorce attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you can handle issues like division of marital assets and, if appropriate, pursue a dissipation claim. Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation at 630-871-1002.