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Category: Divorce

Divorcing a Cheating Spouse in Illinois

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Written by Olivia St. Clair Long, JD on 10.13.22

Divorces can get rough. A cheating ex only complicates the matter and could make for an emotionally charged process. Their disloyalty could feel like a stab in the back, and you might want to get even.

Understanding how Illinois law views adultery could shed light on your current predicament and give you much-needed insight into how to calculate your next steps before things get out of control.

Is Adultery Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?

As of 2016, Illinois lawmakers made significant modifications to divorce law in the state—most notably, they changed the law so that Illinois is now a no-fault state for divorce.

This change allows couples to split without proving in court that they have a specific reason. Today, spouses must simply prove that their relationship has ended due to “irreconcilable differences” to divorce each other.

What Are Irreconcilable Differences?

For irreconcilable differences to apply in your divorce, divorcing parties need to swear to these three elements in court:

  1. Irreconcilable differences led to the breakdown of your marriage
  2. You’ve made several attempts to reconcile with your partner
  3. Any further attempts to reconcile would not be in your, your spouse’s, or your children’s best interest

You don’t have to specify what your “irreconcilable differences” were to obtain a divorce as long as you are willing to swear to the above three elements.

Is Cheating Illegal?

Illinois law actually forbids stepping out on your spouse and labels the act a misdemeanor that could lead to fines and a year in jail.

The law defines adultery as a person who has sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse, and the behavior is open and notorious. While this law is outdated and doesn’t get enforced much, it’s the law nonetheless.

How Could a Cheating Spouse Impact Your Divorce?

Given the changes in Illinois divorce law over the years, the fact that your ex cheated does not entitle you to additional compensation or a higher proportion of the marital assets in court.  You may want to take your ex to the cleaners after finding out they’ve been disloyal; however, the judge may not consider this when awarding alimony or settling child custody disputes.

While this may disappoint you, your spouse’s infidelity could still impact your divorce indirectly—for better or worse.

You May Be Entitled to Some Assets

Affairs cost money. If your spouse was out wining and dining the other woman—or man—and doing so with marital assets, the judge might adjust how those assets are distributed in your divorce to offset the amount spent by your cheating spouse. This also goes for any gifts your spouse bought for the person they had an affair with.

Unfaithful Spouses Make for Rocky Divorces

If your spouse used marital assets, you could benefit in court with the right evidence. However, adultery could lead to many negative outcomes in your divorce.

Even the thought of seeing your ex in court could make your blood boil, knowing what they did to you. Their narcissism and toxic behavior could create a contentious divorce. You and your ex might not be as willing to accommodate each other.

What would have been a simple resolution could turn into a heated debate, adding time and expense to divorce proceedings. Keep a level head and let your attorney advocate for you in court to avoid unnecessary stalls.

A Quick Note on Spying on Your Spouse

“Late nights at the office” or suspicious phone calls could make you think your spouse is stepping out on you. You could feel tempted to follow them around, search through their property, or even track down the person you suspect them to be having an affair with.

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Such behavior could violate the state’s privacy laws. Your best bet is to get a divorce attorney and explain your situation. If you want a divorce and think your ex is cheating, it’s not worth getting yourself in hot water with the law when the goal should be to get out of this toxic situation.

Let Our Divorce Attorneys Help You

The breakdown of a relationship isn’t something many expect when they say, “I do.” However, with proper legal guidance, you could make your divorce as painless as possible. The divorce lawyers at O. Long Law, LLC handle all your paperwork and address your every concern.

They’ve taken cases like yours and protected several clients from their narcissistic exes. Call O. Long Law, LLC. today at 847-556-8846 for help with your case.