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The Impact of Infidelity on Alimony in Illinois

 Posted on April 24, 2015 in Spousal Maintenance

One of the most hotly contested aspects of divorce proceedings is alimony, also known as spousal support. The process of coming to an agreement on how much, if anything, one spouse must pay the other spouse following divorce forces spouses to examine their respective contributions to the marriage.

With two-earner households as the norm, the process of teasing out how much each spouse contributed, both financially and through their responsibilities in the home, can be intensely complicated. Throw in sacrifices made by one spouse to support the wellbeing of the whole family, such as working two jobs to put the other spouse through school or training, and the balance required by alimony becomes even harder to strike.

Alimony is a device used under Illinois law to ensure that when spouses part ways, they are on relatively equal ground financially. Because marriage is a joint venture, in which couples share the burden of financial hardship and the benefit of economic success, the end of a marriage is viewed by judges as an opportunity to ensure that fairness is achieved through the process.

Judges can order that alimony be paid during divorce proceedings or after the divorce has been finalized, and can force an ex-spouse to continue payments even while they are appealing aspects of the order of marriage dissolution.

The Effect of Unfaithfulness on a Marriage Settlement

When a judge decides to approve a divorce settlement agreement or issue an order finalizing a divorce, he or she will consider many factors in an attempt to deliver justice. Although Illinois law allows for no-fault divorce, in which couples claim they have irreconcilable differences, in addition to more traditional fault-based divorce where one spouse is alleged to have conducted themselves in a way that excuses the other spouse from the marriage, misconduct is not a factor in calculating alimony payments.

Unfaithfulness, emotional abuse, and other bad acts by a spouse cannot be given weight by a judge. Illinois divorce law specifically states that alimony amounts must be calculated “without regard to marital misconduct.” Judges must instead calculate them to ensure that the payment is fair and reasonable. Judges are required by law to consider several objective factors, such as the income and property of each spouse, each spouse’s financial needs and earning capacity, the standard of living that the spouses enjoyed during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and many other factors.

Our Attorneys Can Help

If you have questions about how alimony might be calculated by a judge in your case, an experienced DuPage County family law lawyer can give you an idea of what to expect, and can advocate for the best possible outcome for you in your divorce proceeding. Contact Davi Law Group, LLC for advice and representation in your divorce today.

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