Not long ago, proof of infidelity (adultery) was enough grounds to have a serious impact on how a judge made decisions regarding divorce. A wife who was found cheating may have been denied alimony. A father who cheated may have lost his custodial rights over his children. And generations before that when patriarchy was even more prominent than today, adultery was actually considered a crime, though generally only women were punished.
Does infidelity have much influence on today’s divorces? Not really. In fact, adultery in and of itself should have no sway over any divorce decision, including that of alimony, child custody, visitation, or asset division.
The Court Favors the Child’s Best Interests and What is Fair
When divorce cases are settled in court, which is rare, the judge makes decisions regarding child custody, alimony, and asset division based on the following circumstances:
Child Custody: What is in the child’s best interests? If the spouse who cheated on the other spouse is a caring and responsible parent, the infidelity should have no influence over child custody or visitation. Under statute 750 ILCS 5, the court will choose a parenting plan based on the best interests and welfare of the child; and
Alimony and Marital Property Division: Under statute 750 ILCS 5/503, marital property in Illinois is not divided equally, but “fairly.” Illinois is an equitable division state, meaning that marital property is divided based on a variety of factors, including income of each spouse, age and health of each spouse, length of marriage, whether the lower earning spouse sacrificed his or her own career to further the career of the other, non-economic duties of each spouse such as child raising, and much more. Alimony decisions are also based on these criteria, among others, and rarely have anything to do with questions of infidelity.
The Circumstances Surrounding the Adultery Could Affect Divorce Decisions
Only in a few circumstances will adultery affect divorce decisions made by a judge. For example, marital property division could be affected if the husband who was cheating gave money to his mistress to support her. Or, if he cheated in front of his child, or exposed his child to dangerous individuals, that may jeopardize his custody or visitation rights because it shows a lack of parenting ability to make safe and responsible decisions.
Reach Out to a DuPage Family Law Attorney Today
The skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys of Momkus McCluskey LLC are here to help you with your divorce. We are capable of handling complex and contentious divorce cases in court, mediation, and arbitration, as well as more amicable divorces that can be solved by collaborating with the other party. Do not hesitate to call us at once to schedule a consultation.