Can Infidelity Affect the Divorce Process?

Infidelity is a painful reality that many couples face, and it often leads to the dissolution of marriage. When infidelity becomes the grounds for divorce, it adds an additional layer of complexity to an already challenging process. At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, we understand the emotional toll it can take, and we’re here to guide you through the legal intricacies that come with it.

Infidelity and Divorce in Illinois

Under Illinois law, infidelity itself does not directly affect the outcome of a divorce. The state follows a “no-fault” divorce principle, meaning the court is not concerned with the reasons behind the divorce, including infidelity. However, this doesn’t mean that infidelity has no bearing on the divorce process at all.

Impact of Infidelity on Child Custody and Property Division

Infidelity can indirectly impact child custody decisions. While the court’s primary concern in determining custody is the best interests of the child, a parent’s behavior, including infidelity, may be considered if it affects their ability to parent. If, for instance, a parent’s extramarital affairs are disruptive to the child’s environment or routine, this could influence the court’s decision.

When it comes to property division and alimony, infidelity itself will not be a determining factor. However, if a spouse has used significant marital assets to support an affair — such as buying expensive gifts or paying for vacations — the court may consider this “dissipation of assets” and adjust the division of property accordingly.

Impact of Infidelity on Child Custody and Property Division

The emotional fallout from infidelity can also complicate the divorce process. It may prevent effective mediation and negotiation, leading to a contentious and protracted divorce proceeding. In such cases, the desire for “punishment” may overshadow the pursuit of a fair and amicable resolution.

Prenuptial agreements can help mitigate some of these issues. These contracts can include infidelity clauses, stipulating consequences if one spouse is unfaithful. However, the enforceability of such clauses can depend on various factors and should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney.

For those facing divorce due to infidelity, it’s essential to seek both legal counsel and emotional support. A skilled family law attorney can guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights and interests are protected. Meanwhile, counseling can help manage emotional stress and aid in navigating this challenging time.

Contact the Experienced Divorce Lawyers at Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC

At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, we offer compassionate, comprehensive legal services for those going through divorce. We can help you understand how infidelity may impact your case, advise on potential outcomes, and provide strategic guidance tailored to your unique circumstances.

Every situation is unique, and general advice may not apply to your specific circumstances. If you’re facing a divorce where infidelity is a factor, we invite you to contact our office for a consultation. We’re here to help you navigate this difficult journey with confidence and peace of mind.

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