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What is the Difference Between Adultery and Infidelity in Illinois?

 Posted on June 27, 2023 in Family Law

Will County Family Law AttorneyAdultery generally refers to sexual relations with a person other than one’s spouse. Infidelity encompasses a broader range of unfaithful behaviors, including emotional and physical affairs outside a marriage. The state of Illinois has their own laws regarding the distinction between adultery and infidelity. It is well known that a betrayal of this nature often leads to divorce in the state of Illinois and across the country.

Adultery in Illinois Law

In Illinois, adultery is defined as having sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse in an “open and notorious” way. Adultery is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. It can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. However, criminal charges for adultery are rarely pursued, as the laws are considered outdated compared to modern views.

Infidelity in Illinois Divorce Cases

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that all divorce filings are based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” As a result, adultery is not listed as a reason for divorce in Illinois. 

However, a spouse’s infidelity can still influence certain aspects of a divorce case, such as asset division and alimony payments. For example, if a spouse’s infidelity resulted in the wastage of marital assets during an affair, this could be considered during the division of assets in a divorce. However, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that the court shall divide the marital property “without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions,” which means that a spouse’s infidelity will not be a deciding factor in asset division.

Does Infidelity Affect Child Custody Arrangements in Illinois?

In Illinois, infidelity generally does not directly impact child custody arrangements, as the state focuses on the child's best interests when determining custody. However, there are certain circumstances where a spouse’s infidelity may indirectly affect child custody decisions. For example, if your partner poses a credible risk to the children, the court may consider this when determining custody and visitation. The court's top priority is the welfare of the child. Any elements that could jeopardize the child's safety and well-being will be considered while determining custody.

Contact a Plainfield Divorce Lawyer

While adultery and infidelity are often used interchangeably, they have distinct legal implications in Illinois. If you need help navigating your case, contact a Joliet family law attorney to help with the next steps. Call Reeder & Brown, P.C. at 815-885-5980 to set up your free consultation.



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