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Marital Misconduct and Property Division in Your Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

McHenry County divorce lawyerMany people assume that they will be granted a more favorable divorce settlement if their spouse cheated on them or they were otherwise wronged by their soon-to-be-ex. However, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. Divorcing spouses do not need to show proof of marital misconduct like infidelity or mental cruelty to be granted a divorce. In most cases, the reason that the marriage is ending does not matter to Illinois courts. That being said, reckless or wasteful financial decisions during the marriage can impact the outcome of the divorce.

How Illinois Courts Divide Property

Divorcing couples in Illinois may be able to reach an agreement on how to divide their shared property without the court’s involvement. However, if the couple cannot reach a settlement, the court will divide their property according to a legal doctrine called equitable distribution. Property is divided fairly based on many factors, including both spouses’ financial circumstances. Illinois law specifically states that courts will divide marital property without regard to marital misconduct. For example, courts cannot award less marital property to a spouse solely because that spouse cheated on or abused his or her partner. However, there is one major exception to this rule: If a spouse dissipated marital assets, the non-dissipating spouse may be entitled to reimbursement.  

Dissipation of Assets Claims for Wasted Assets

The term “dissipation” refers to wasteful spending or use of marital property. Specifically, Illinois law defines dissipation of assets as the use of marital property for the sole benefit of one spouse during a marital breakdown.

Dissipation of assets may include:

  • Spending money on an extramarital affair partner
  • Intentionally destroying property
  • Using up joint savings on a gambling addiction or drug addiction
  • Other misuse or waste of marital assets

If a spouse dissipates assets, the court has the authority to redistribute marital property in a way that compensates the non-dissipating spouse for the value of the lost assets. If you suspect that your spouse has dissipated assets, contact a lawyer for help. The timing of a dissipation of assets claim is crucial.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

Non-financial marital misconduct does not influence property division in an Illinois divorce. However, if a spouse has wasted or destroyed marital property, this may influence the way the court divides the remaining property. If your spouse has dissipated assets or your spouse is accusing you of dissipating assets, contact our Crystal Lake divorce attorneys for help. Call 815-338-3838 for a consultation.




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