My spouse had an affair; can I use this against him or her to gain more marital property?

Illinois is what is called a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce.  This means, to put it simply, that the Court cannot take conduct into consideration when dividing marital property in a divorce.  The Court will not place blame on one party to the divorce.  It is “no-one’s fault” that the divorce is occurring, for the purpose of dividing property.  So, no, the Court will not hold it against one spouse that they had an affair or caused fault for the divorce when marital property is divided.  The Court will make an equitable distribution of marital property in a divorce in the state of Illinois.

However, when marital money is spent for a non-marital purpose, the Court may find that dissipation of assets has occurred.  Dissipation can occur when one spouse chooses to spend marital funds for non-marital purpose.  This may include buying gifts for a girlfriend or boyfriend, taking lavish vacations and paying for a boyfriend or girlfriend’s travel, fancy dinners, jewelry and the like.  These things, if considered dissipation of marital funds by the Court, would be required to be paid back to the marital estate.  So, the amount spent by one spouse which is found to be dissipation is put back into the marital pot to be divided equitably amongst the parties.  This is an indirect way that you can be awarded additional marital property due to an affair, but it still is not being awarded to you by reason of fault on the part of your spouse.

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