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Ashley Madison and Dissipation in Illinois Divorces

Posted on in Divorce

dissipation in Illinois divorces, Crystal Lake Family Law LawyerOne of the most common causes of divorce in the modern age is a marriage's inability to heal following an affair—a particular issue that has been thrown into the limelight by the recent Ashley Madison hack.

Ashley Madison is an online dating service that specializes in facilitating affairs. The dating service's website was hacked; users were exposed.

Those impacted were left wondering whether or not the fact that their spouse had an affair would have any impact on a divorce case. However, the answer to this question is usually, "no."

Illinois law forbids judges from considering bad marital behavior when dividing marital property, and it would only affect child custody proceedings if the judge decided that the relationship somehow bore on the interests of the child. However, there is one exception. If a spouse spent marital funds on an affair, then the other spouse may be able to claim dissipation of those assets.

The Ashley Madison Hack

Ashley Madison caters to people who are already in committed relationships. Hence, this factor made them a ripe target for a group of hackers who called themselves the Impact Team, which chose to attack the site based on allegedly dishonest practices related to how user information was sold and stored.

The team's original goal was to get the site's owners to shut the website down, and to do so, the team threatened to release the complete list of the site's users. Ashley Madison's parent company refused, and the team made good on their threat and released email addresses and other personal information from the site's patrons.

The Principle of Dissipation

While adultery is not usually relevant to an Illinois divorce, it can come into play in the context of a dissipation claim—an argument made by one spouse that the other spouse spent marital funds on some purpose unrelated to the marriage, either while the marriage was experiencing an unresolvable collapse or after that collapse had already occurred. Exactly when a marital collapse occurred can likely be a major point of contention, and the answer may depend on the specific facts of the case—a marital collapse can occur as late as when the couple separated or when they filed for divorce, or it can be at some earlier point in the marriage.

The purpose of filing a dissipation claim is that it can provide an advantage for the non-dissipating spouse in the property division process. Either the court will credit the dissipating spouse as having received the dissipated funds and award extra funds to the non-dissipating spouse to make things equitable, or the court may force the dissipating spouse to repay the funds into the marital estate.

Dealing with adultery is not easy, and many marriages cannot recover from it. If you are considering filing for divorce for any reason and have questions about the process, contact a compassionate Crystal Lake family law attorney today.



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