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Your Cheatin’ Heart and Lyin’ Eyes

By Nottage and Ward on January 31, 2018

Shock. Anger. Disgust. Weariness. Sadness. Loathing. So much pain.

Now, let’s go to court.

There are so many emotions that accompany the end of a marriage. But perhaps nothing elicits as many torturous thoughts and feelings as discovering that your spouse is having an extramarital affair. You’ve been cheated on, betrayed, shared your bed and home with an adulterer, and now you want the court to see this treachery and mete out a punishment that your so-called “better half” so richly deserves.

Unfortunately, when you sit down with your attorney to discuss the legal approach to your divorce, he or she will tell you that spousal infidelity has little impact on the final outcome.

There are two types of divorce proceedings: fault-based, and no-fault. Previously, fault-based divorce was the primary legal approach and the court would consider marital misconduct in its decision. But, the growing nationwide trend is for the no-fault divorce, which is basically when both parties agree that the marriage should be terminated due to “irreconcilable differences.” The State of Illinois is no-fault. In Illinois, property division, support, and child-related issues are determined without regard to marital misconduct.

For instance, judges cannot consider adultery when determining maintenance.

According to Illinois law, maintenance awards are measured “without regard to marital misconduct” and must be fair and reasonable. “Fair and reasonable” are likely two words that the “innocent spouse” will react to with some hostility, but the judge will take a more clinical approach when determining maintenance, and consider factors like the following:

–          Income and property of each party, both jointly and separately
–          Financial needs of each party
–          Financial earning capability, both present and future, for each party
–          Duration of the marriage
–          Standard of living during the marriage
–          Ages and health of each party
–          Tax liabilities

As you will quickly realize, the legal proceedings in a divorce are complicated. Add into the mix any dependent children you have and it gets worse. If you are considering a divorce from your spouse, you should seek experienced legal counsel before taking any serious action. At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we have over 25 years of exclusive focus on divorce and family law in Chicago. Give us a call at (312) 332-2915, or visit our website to learn more about child custody.

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