Can an Affair Affect Divorce Settlements?
It is no secret that extramarital affairs can often mean the end of a marriage. Psychologists identify several different reasons for affairs—not the least of which is because the marriage was already headed toward ruin, whether one of the spouses had cheated or not.
Affairs begin for a number of reasons, including revenge, a desire for sex when the marriage has lost its spark, or an emotional connection with someone other than one’s spouse. There is another reason for affairs—one that may be problematic for many people: the affair of the long-term caregiver. In some marriages, one partner becomes very ill and must then rely on his or her spouse to provide care in all facets of life. Often, this leaves the other spouse feeling more like a parent than a partner—and may lead him or her to seek intimacy elsewhere. While some may see these types of affairs as relatively justifiable, they are actually the least common type of an affair.
When it comes to ending a marriage because of an affair, it may or may not cost the cheater in court. Although Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a couple does not have to find fault or blame with one of the spouses in order to file for divorce, Illinois legislature currently allows one spouse to file for a at-fault divorce in the case of such an incident like cheating. This law is slated to change in January 2016, when cheaters will not longer be held accountable or "at-fault" in divorce proceedings.
By some estimates, cheating is a factor in roughly half of all divorces—though it may not always be cited as the main impetus or reason for it. Even though it may seem unfair, cheaters cannot be punished when it comes to divorce proceedings, property division or decisions of spousal maintenance.
If you or someone you know is considering divorce due to an extramarital affair, do not go through it alone. The first step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today.