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Fault Most Important During Divorce Settlement

 Posted on March 14, 2018 in Divorce

Fault Most Important During Divorce SettlementIllinois has largely removed the consideration of fault by either party from the divorce process. Because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, a spouse may only cite irreconcilable differences when filing for divorce. Though infidelity or abuse can cause divorce, divorce courts are not concerned with them when determining whether to grant a dissolution of marriage. It is a spouse’s desire to divorce that is important, not the reason for it. However, some accusations of fault remain relevant when a court creates the terms of a divorce agreement. The court may consider illegal or immoral behavior by one spouse when deciding to compensate or protect the other spouse.

Property Division

Illinois divorce law instructs courts to equitably divide marital properties between two spouses. Equitable is different than equal because it means the courts are not required to be exactly even when dividing properties. Courts can start from equal and use their judgment to determine what would be a fair share of properties. Acts of fault that include financial impropriety are part of the court’s reasoning process. For instance, a spouse having an affair often buys gifts for his or her affair partner. A court may financially compensate the victim spouse during the division of property if the cheating spouse used marital properties to purchase the gifts.

Parental Responsibilities

Courts must consider a child’s well-being when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities during a divorce. A spouse’s fault may demonstrate that he or she uses poor judgment or is a threat to the children, such as:

  • Ignoring parental responsibilities while having an affair;
  • Physically or verbally abusing others in the household; or
  • Showing signs of mental instability or self-destructive behavior.

A court will award less parenting time and decision-making powers to a parent it deems as irresponsible or unreliable. If the parent is a threat to the children, the court may limit or deny access to the children until the parent demonstrates he or she is not a danger to the children.

Using Fault During Divorce

It is natural for you to think of your spouse's fault in terms of how his or her actions caused the end of your marriage. You can reconcile the emotional aspects of your divorce by talking to a therapist. Instead, you should consider how your spouse’s fault may have affected you financially and what it says about his or her fitness as a parent. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can discuss whether actions of fault by your spouse will be relevant in your divorce case. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.


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