Cheating, along with lack of commitment and too much arguing, is one of the most common reasons given for divorce. Often, divorcing parties wonder whether one or both spouses’ infidelity will affect the outcome of a divorce.
Does infidelity play a role in child custody disputes, affect maintenance awards, or impact the distribution of marital property?
Historically, before no-fault divorce was common-place, issues like infidelity played a large role in divorce proceedings. Today, however, infidelity does not play nearly as important of a role.
What Illinois Law Deals With Divorce Issues?
The key issues surrounding a divorce, which is legally called a “dissolution of marriage,” are governed in our state by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. There are additional statutes that deal with specific issues such as premarital agreements and the enforcement of child support orders. However, the major issues are all dealt within this one act.
What Parts of a Divorce Proceeding are Affected by Infidelity?
Under the act, a party’s marital conduct is not supposed to affect a court’s decision when it comes to property division or child support. Technically, courts are permitted to consider spousal conduct when making determinations regarding child custody, but only when the conduct is relevant to the best interests of the child—if there is something particularly damaging about one's infidelity that may be harmful to a child’s health moving forward, it may affect custody. However, the majority of the time, infidelity will not play a role in a child custody dispute.
What about “Fault” Divorces?
Illinois law favors no-fault divorce. However, in a limited number of cases, divorcing parties cannot agree and “fault” becomes an issue. Yet even in fault cases, issues like infidelity do not really have a chance to impact the ultimate outcome of a divorce because fault divorce proceedings are handled in bifurcated trials—two separate parts. The first part of the trial deals with fault and the second deals with additional issues such as property division.
Because these trials occur in two totally separate parts, alleging fault does not provide an advantage in property disputes or child-custody disputes. In fact, the opposite can occur when a party needlessly asserts fault—a judge may see this as a party wasting the court’s time and resources.
Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina P.C. Today
Divorce is a difficult and often contentious process. While some divorces are the result of a gradual deterioration of a marriage, others are the result of one spouse suddenly learning about the other's marital misbehavior. If you find yourself in this situation you will need the guidance of an experienced Illinois family law lawyer like the family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. When you contact us we can go over the details of your case and craft a legal strategy that is right for your particular circumstances. Call us today at (630) 756-5112.