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Does Cheating Affect How Much Marital Property You Receive in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on April 26, 2021 in Division of Property in Illinois

IL divorce lawyerWhen a married couple joins their lives, they also join their finances. If a married couple divorces, they must divide property such as bank account balances, real estate, and business earnings. They will also divide liabilities such as credit card debt. Then the division of marital property and debt can be quite complicated – personally and legally. This is especially true if a spouse spent money on an extramarital affair. Depending on when and how money was spent, the spouse who was cheated on may be entitled to a larger share of marital property in a divorce.

Dissipation of Assets During an Affair

Illinois State does not recognize any fault-based grounds for divorce. Typically, the reason that a marriage is ending has little impact on the outcome of the divorce. However, this is not true if a spouse spent a considerable amount of money to finance an extramarital affair.

“Dissipation of assets” occurs when a spouse “dissipates” or wastes property at the end of a marriage. Wasting assets has been specifically defined as using assets for a purpose not related to the marriage in a way that only benefits one of the spouses. The assets must have been wasted while the marriage was experiencing an “irretrievable breakdown” in order to count as dissipation. Case law has established that a marriage is experiencing an irretrievable breakdown when the couple is no longer trying to work out their differences and save the marriage.

Spending That is Typically Classified as Dissipation

Originally, dissipation of assets only referred to the misuse or waste of marital assets. Marital assets include the assets that are jointly held by both spouses in the marital estate. However, the law has since been amended to include non-marital assets as well. Some examples of spending that may constitute dissipation include:

  • Buying an affair partner expensive gifts
  • Frequently purchasing plane tickets to visit the affair partner
  • Spending money on a vacation with the affair partner
  • Giving the affair partner marital or non-marital property of a considerable value
  • Selling marital or non-marital property to fund the affair
  • Paying the affair partner’s bills or debt

If a spouse dissipates assets, the other spouse may file a dissipation claim during divorce. The spouse who was wronged may be entitled to a proportionally greater share of the marital assets during property division.

Contact a Joliet Property Division Lawyer

If your spouse spent a considerable amount of money to fund an extramarital affair, you may be able to recover this money through a dissipation claim during your divorce. To learn more, contact an experienced Plainfield divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. Call us at 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 and set up your free consultation.



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