Even for those who have never experienced such a situation, it is almost impossible to imagine a deeper pain or sense of betrayal than that which comes from being cheated on by a spouse. While each couple may have their own definition of what constitutes cheating, an unfaithful spouse’s behavior can have a devastating impact on the marital relationship. In many situations, cheating is a symptom of much larger problems but is often the one that prompts the “cheated-on” spouse to finally take action to either fix the relationship or to end it permanently. If your spouse has been cheating and you are ready to file for divorce, there are some important things to keep in mind about your spouse’s behavior and how it may or may not impact the divorce process.
Cheating Is Not Grounds for Divorce
Changes to Illinois law which took effect at the beginning of this year eliminated all of the fault-based grounds for divorce in the state. Today, a divorce will only be granted in Illinois on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences. Cheating can certainly create irreconcilable differences but will not be recognized as the official reason for your divorce.
Spousal Support and Property Concerns
It may be reasonable to believe that when you have been cheated on by your spouse, you should be entitled to a larger portion of the marital estate, or perhaps additional ordered maintenance to compensate for his or her actions. Illinois law, however, expressly prohibits a court from considering “marital misconduct”—including adultery—when deciding on property division and spousal support matters. It is the responsibility of the court to address each spouse’s needs and to provide for the equitable distribution of marital property, not to place a value on an unfaithful spouse’s behavior.
A spouse who has cheated may be held responsible for the money he or she spent on the affair. Marital assets spent inappropriately or for purposes unrelated to the marriage may be considered dissipated if the spending occurred after the marriage had begun to irreparably break down. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the court may order money spent on gifts, hotel rooms, trips, or other expenses related to the adulterous affair to be repaid to the marital estate before the estate is divided in the divorce.
Get the Help You Need
If you are looking for guidance with your divorce from a cheating spouse, contact an experienced St. Charles divorce attorney. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today. We are equipped to provide the representation you need during a difficult time.