Adultery and Divorce

October 31, 2022

If you’ve ever watched a dramatic TV show about divorce, you’ve likely seen the wronged spouse triumphantly reveals their partner’s scandalous adultery in court. Dramatic? Sure. But is that how divorce works in real life? Not in Illinois, and that’s a good thing.

Why Adultery Doesn’t Equal Divorce Win


In the past, adultery was a valid reason to end a marriage. But the reality is… who hasn’t made mistakes? Should one lapse in judgment derail an otherwise repairable relationship? Lawmakers increasingly say “no.” That’s why Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state. The only thing that matters for divorce is whether there are “irreconcilable differences” – meaning the marriage is beyond repair.

But Adultery Still Feels Wrong


Of course, discovering your spouse has been unfaithful is devastating. Plenty of folks feel an unfaithful partner should be punished in some way. But, our legal system isn’t about dishing out moral justice. Courts are focused on the practical, legal matters involved in ending a marriage.

Emotions vs. The Law

It’s hard to accept, but even the immense pain of infidelity won’t alter the divorce process itself. If you’re considering leaving your spouse over this, focus on what the law does address so you can prepare for the path ahead.

One Caveat: The Money Trail


Here’s where things can get messy. If your spouse has been squandering marital money on gifts, getaways, etc., with their new partner, that’s called “dissipation of assets.” The court will take this kind of financial recklessness into account.

Bottom Line

Adultery is a personal betrayal, full stop. But legally speaking, it won’t make your spouse the “bad guy” in divorce court. Hard truth, but it’s best to know this upfront so you can focus on the practicalities of the divorce process itself.

If you can work through your hurt, and decide negotiate with your soon-to-be-ex, I would love to help you get divorced. Call me or reach out to my office.


Disclaimer: While this blog post provides information on legal topics, it is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed attorney. For personalized legal guidance, please consult with a lawyer who can assess your individual circumstances.