Can Cheating Affect My Divorce?
It is nearly impossible to estimate how many people have ever cheated on their spouse. This is true for several reasons. First, not all couple define cheating the same way. Next, not everyone who has been unfaithful is likely to admit it, even to an impartial researcher. Finally, surveys related to infidelity rarely, if ever, cover a large enough cross-section of the population to be widely applicable. This is why outlets like the Washington Post will report that between 25 and 72 percent of married men cheat—far too large of a variation to have much scientific significance.
There is little doubt, however, that infidelity can have destructive effects on a marriage. While it is not usually the only factor in a couple deciding to divorce, it is often a substantial one. If your spouse has cheated on you, it is common to wonder if his or her behavior could impact the divorce process as well.
No-Fault Divorce Laws in Illinois
Decades ago, couples had to have grounds for divorce; infidelity would have been considered among such grounds. Today, this is not the case. Most states, including Illinois, have no-fault divorce laws. Essentially, this means that, no matter how hurt or angry you or your spouse might be, the reason behind the dissolution of marriage is irrelevant in the eyes of a judge. Neither spouse is assigned blame or responsibility for the divorce.
Generally speaking, arrangements regarding parental responsibilities—previously known as child custody—are set up to benefit the child. As such, the circumstances surrounding the divorce are not usually taken into account, unless they pose a direct threat to the child. This can be difficult for hurt or angry spouses to hear, but it is an important factor in the long-term well-being of any children involved.
Debt, Property, and Finances
Much like child-related concerns, considerations for debt, property, and marital finances are rarely altered by an unfaithful spouse. This is not to say that damages relating to you or your spouse’s cheating may not be considered at all. If marital funds were spent on gifts for a lover, hotel reservations, or on other expenses tied into the affair, it can be considered “dissipation,” and compensation may be due to the injured spouse.
Divorce Attorney Fees
Legal fees for a divorce attorney are not always addressed in a divorce settlement or division of property or finances, but some couples may incur significantly higher legal fees. This may be due to the anger and hurt of an injured spouse who is prepared to fight and unwilling to settle through mediation or arbitration. This does not mean that the cheating spouse should cave to all the whims of the angry and injured spouse, but understanding how lengthy divorce proceedings can quickly rack up costs may help reduce the fees for both parties by dampening the desire to “get back” at one another.
Seek Qualified, Professional Help for Your Divorce
Whether it is due to infidelity or some other marital problem, couples seeking divorce should obtain qualified legal help. This is especially true when there are children involved. Our attorneys are skilled in all matters of divorce and are equipped to help you secure a more positive future. To schedule a consultation, contact an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer today.