Tag Archives: infidelity

How Will Adultery Affect My Divorce?

adultery, Wheaton divorce attorneysIt is no secret that many marriages end as a result of infidelity. About 41 percent of married people admit to having either a physical or emotional affair. Even more surprising, 57 percent of men and 54 percent of women admit to cheating at some point in their life. When an affair is one of the factors which ends a marriage, it may affect your divorce, but not in the way you might think.

Illinois is a No-Fault Divorce State

Illinois has been “pure no-fault state” since the start of 2016. This means that the state does not require divorcing couples to state their specific reasons or “grounds” for ending the marriage through divorce. Before the 2016 change, grounds like adultery or repeated mental or physical cruelty could be used as the cause of the divorce. Today, those seeking a divorce in Illinois only have one ground for filing for divorce: “irreconcilable differences.” According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a judgment of divorce will be issued only if “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” For most couples, infidelity will not affect their divorce in any meaningful way.

Special Circumstances in Which Infidelity May Affect Your Divorce

Many people presume that if their spouse cheats, the unfaithful spouse will somehow be punished for his or her infidelity during the divorce process. They might believe that the faithful spouse will automatically receive of primary custodial responsibilities for the children or that the cheating spouse will be forced to pay more in spousal maintenance. However, this is no longer the case. Adultery usually has little to no impact on support or custody decisions.

There are only a few rare circumstances in which a spouse’s new romantic interest could affect their ability to get custody of their child. Judges use the same main criteria to make decisions regarding custody and visitation (now called parenting time) across the board: They determine what will protect the child’s best interest. So, if a spouse’s new girlfriend or boyfriend is a danger to the child, it may affect the court’s decision regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities. If a spouse’s affair or new romantic interest does not damage the parent-child relationship or put the child in harm’s way, it will probably not be considered during the divorce.

Just the act of having an affair will probably not come up during divorce proceedings. However, if the cheating partner spent marital assets on his or her new romantic interest during the marriage, he or she may be required to replace that money before marital property is divided. This is called “dissipation.” A spouse accused of dissipation of marital assets must either prove that the allegations are false or pay back the marital estate the money spent for non-marital purposes like the affair.

If you have further questions about how your or your spouse’s affair will affect your divorce, contact the experienced Wheaton family lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling 630-871-1002 today.




The Effects of Marital Misconduct on Divorce

marital misconduct, Wheaton family law attorneyWhen you and your spouse are in the process of getting divorced, it may be because one of you conducted an extramarital affair. If you are cheated on, it can destroy your faith in the other person forever, and you may think that it gives you leverage in a divorce proceeding. However, in Illinois, any emotional damage you may have suffered is not going to have any effect on your divorce, with rare exceptions in the most unusual cases.

Marital Misconduct

Marital misconduct is defined in Illinois as any conduct that undermines the marital relationship. Most of the time, this is applied to extramarital affairs and conduct that destroys trust, but it may also include conduct that is economically dangerous or wasteful. For example, a man spending his and his wife’s retirement account savings on a new car would likely qualify. In Illinois, economic misconduct can also be referred to as dissipation of marital assets, but whether it affects property distribution depends on when the dissipation occurred. Dissipation may also simply not be worth pursuing as a claim against your former spouse, given that the money’s provenance must be established and it may cost more than was spent simply to prove you have a claim to those funds.

Other states may make consideration of fault conditional, meaning that certain crimes or civil infractions committed may affect one spouse’s claim to marital property. However, Illinois does not recognize any marital misconduct as grounds for unequal distribution of marital property. The only time your spouse may receive less property than they otherwise might from your divorce is if they have committed a crime and are prohibited from receiving or inheriting property from you based on that conviction.

“Not Relevant” to Property Division

Most people, especially wronged spouses, go into divorce court thinking that they can allege abandonment or mental cruelty because of the affair, and as such, receive a larger share of the marital property. This is simply not the reality.

The rationale as to why can be traced back to the propagation of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA) in 1970. While the UMDA was only enacted in a few states, its commentaries and discussions had a lasting impact on divorce law as a whole. It was, for example, the UMDA which first propagated the idea of “irreconcilable differences” as grounds for divorce as opposed to proving fault. The drafters of the UMDA stated a wish to have the proceeding of divorce focus more on the “realities of the marital situation” rather than “an unproductive assignment of blame.”

Have Experienced Help on Your Side

If you have been blindsided by your spouse’s infidelities and untruthfulness, you may feel entitled to vengeance. The law may not grant you revenge, but with the right representation, you will get what you deserve. Contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.



Should I Spy on My Spouse’s Email If I Suspect Infidelity?

email, Wheaton divorce attorneysSocial media posts have become an important source of evidence in many divorce cases. Many people falsely assume their posts are “private” and that any incriminating material–such as proof of an extramarital affair–can be concealed from an estranged spouse. In fact, many spouses have learned how to keep an eye on their partner’s social media activity for just that reason.

But, what happens when a person goes even further and takes steps to monitor their spouse’s email? An ongoing lawsuit suggests such activity may violate federal law. Not surprisingly, this litigation arose in the context of a highly-contested divorce.

Federal Court Reinstates Husband’s Wiretap Lawsuit Against Wife

The plaintiff and the defendant have been married for more than 40 years. The wife filed for divorce in Chicago five years ago. That case remains pending before a Cook County court.

The wife has accused her husband of infidelity. During pretrial discovery, the husband requested that the wife produce any evidence in her possession to support her allegations. In response, the wife produced “copies of email correspondence between [the husband] and several women,” according to court records.

The husband believed his wife “secretly placed a ‘rule’ on his email accounts” that automatically forwarded his messages–for a period of as long as five years–to her without his knowledge. The husband subsequently filed a federal lawsuit accusing the wife of violating the Wiretap Act. This is a federal law that makes it illegal to “intercept” or “disclose” another person’s electronic communications. A victim of a Wiretap Act violation may file a civil suit to recover monetary damages.

A trial judge dismissed the husband’s lawsuit, but last month, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts dismissal. The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, only that the case could proceed. The panel noted the husband’s allegations “technically fall within the language of the [Wiretap] Act, though Congress probably didn’t anticipate its use as a tactical weapon in a divorce proceeding.”

Social Media and Divorce

Since this case was filed, infidelity has been eliminated as grounds for divorce in Illinois. Therefore, finding proof of a cheating spouse is much less important. It is still wise to monitor your use of social media, as public posts are easily taken out of context and may present a less than favorable image. Photos of an expensive vacation or multiple new purchases, for example, may seemingly contradict your claims regarding your need for spousal maintenance.

Seek Skilled Guidance

If you are considering a divorce, you will need to develop a strategy for email and social media use that will prevent future problems. Contact our offices to speak with a qualified DuPage County family law attorney about your case. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.