Will the Divorce Court Punish My Spouse for Cheating?
It is nearly impossible to know for certain what percentage of married individuals have cheated on their spouses. There are several reasons for this. First, many people may be hesitant to admit instances of infidelity, even in an anonymous survey or study. Next, and perhaps more importantly, cheating can be defined differently from one relationship to another. Regardless of large-scale numbers, if your spouse has engaged in actions that you define as cheating, you may be at a loss regarding what to do next. Many couples never fully recovery from infidelity, and cheating is a contributing factor in a large number of divorces.
Not Grounds for Divorce
When you have been cheated on, it is understandable for you to feel betrayed and ready to end your relationship. In Illinois, however, adultery is no longer an available grounds for divorce. Since 2016, every divorce in the state is granted on the basis that irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. By definition, all Illinois divorces are considered to be no-fault, which means the court has no interest in assigning blame to one spouse or the other for the breakdown.
While this may seem a bit unfair and that your spouse will “get away” with cheating on you, the upside is that you will not have to prove that your spouse cheated. All you need to do is show that your marriage cannot be saved.
Property and Support
So adultery is not grounds for divorce, but surely the court will afford you some consideration for what you have suffered, right? Unfortunately, no. Adultery is, technically, still considered to be a misdemeanor crime in Illinois but virtually no prosecutor would be willing to use time and resources in pursuing criminal charges. This places the entire matter under the jurisdiction of the family court, but the law provides almost no room to consider infidelity.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage states that financial considerations such as property division and spousal support must be determined “without regard to marital misconduct.” The same is true in child-related matters, including the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. The only time that the court can take a spouse’s behavior into account in parenting matters is if the behavior places the child in physical, emotional, spiritual, or moral danger.
We Can Help
If your spouse is cheating on you and you are considering the possibility of divorce, it is important to speak to an experienced Kane County family law attorney before you make any decisions. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.