The Role of Adultery in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce Grounds

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois marriage laws,Recently the hackers responsible for leaking millions of users’ information from the Ashley Madison website posted a second batch of information containing an even greater number of user profile information. Many feared a sharp and abrupt spike in the number of divorces filed across the country as spouses became aware of their partner’s cheating and/or infidelity. Although it is far too early to tell if such “doom and gloom” predictions hold true, one reality television star previously in the spotlight for family-related issues has already admitted that he has been unfaithful to his wife by maintaining two accounts on the Ashley Madison website.

Is Adultery an Outdated Concept?

It seems as if our culture is not surprised anymore when allegations of adultery are either admitted to or proven true, at least in cases of celebrities and politicians. (Adultery, of course, can be said to occur whenever a married individual engages in sexual relations with a person other than his or her spouse.) One sign that our culture no longer views adultery in the same manner as it once did is the proliferation of “no-fault” divorce laws. In states that have adopted “no-fault” laws, a couple can obtain a divorce without any showing that one spouse engaged in any “bad behavior” like adultery: instead, the parties can obtain a divorce simply on a stipulation or finding that the spouses have irreconcilable differences.

Illinois, however, has not yet converted to a pure “no-fault” divorce state. While spouses can obtain a divorce in Illinois if irreconcilable differences exist, spouses are also able to obtain a divorce by proving the other spouse engaged in adultery, although that will change with the overhaul recently signed into law regarding the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

What Effect Does Adultery Have on an Illinois Divorce?

One of the benefits of proving adultery in connection with a divorce petition is that the normal waiting period that is applicable in cases of irreconcilable differences (six months if the parties agree that irreconcilable differences exist; two years if one spouse does not agree) does not apply. This can be useful if the non-adulterous spouse wishes to proceed with a divorce petition quickly.

Adultery, however, cannot be specifically considered by a court when determining if alimony is appropriate and, if so, in what amount. Illinois law prohibits a court from considering “marital misconduct”; instead, courts must consider a number of other factors and circumstances when considering alimony. The nature of the adulterous relationship may have bearing on some of these circumstances and factors, such as:

  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouses;
  • Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the spouse seeking maintenance; and/or
  • The contributions and services by the spouse seeking maintenance or the training, career, or career potential or licensing of the other spouse.
Our dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys are here to help you in seeking a divorce on fair and equitable terms in Illinois. If your spouse was unfaithful or engaged in adultery, we can examine the facts of that relationship and advise you of how this may impact your petition for divorce. Contact us by calling 630-871-1002 or contact us online to discuss your case with our legal team today.   Sources:

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