When infidelity ends a marriage, the wronged spouse may believe or hope that the other one receives his or just desserts during the divorce process. A common misconception is that the cheater will lose everything.
The reality is that Illinois is a no-fault state, which means the grounds listed legally for divorce will not be adultery even if that is the real reason. Judges do not factor it into their decisions for the most part. There are exceptions though.
Impact on asset division
Illinois property division follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that judges split marital assets fairly, though not necessarily equally. Infidelity, as a standalone factor, typically does not directly impact the division of assets. However, if the unfaithful spouse dissipated marital assets during the extramarital affair, such as spending significant funds on maintaining it (hotels for meetings, expensive gifts for the affair partner, etc.), judges may consider the amount wasted when making their decisions. The same applies to spousal support.
Child custody considerations
Courts prioritize the best interests of the children when determining custody arrangements. Infidelity, if proven to have a detrimental impact on the child’s well-being, may influence judges’ choices. Factors such as the emotional impact of the infidelity on the child and the stability of the cheating parent’s household may come into play.
Illinois law classifies adultery as a misdemeanor, though prosecutors generally have no interest in pursuing charges. During a divorce, judges do not allow its existence in itself to influence their decisions, but when it leads to dissipation of shared assets, judges may factor in the loss of that marital property.