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How Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Your Spouse May Affect Your Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

How Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Your Spouse May Affect Your DivorceIn the past couple of months, the media has increased its attention towards sexual harassment allegations brought against male celebrities. Careers – and presumably marriages – have been ruined. However, most sexual harassment cases involve people who are not famous. If you believe the claims made against your spouse, it may be enough reason for you to want a divorce. You may feel:

  • Shocked that your spouse is capable of such action; and
  • Hurt that your spouse is seeking the admiration of someone else.

Because Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, you cannot cite the sexual harassment as a reason for your divorce or expected to be compensated for it. However, your spouse’s involvement in a sexual harassment case can still affect your divorce.

Lawsuits and Debts

When a victim publicly accuses someone of sexual harassment, he or she often files a lawsuit against the perpetrator, seeking a monetary award. A verdict against your spouse or settlement may affect your divorce finances by:

  • Draining value from your marital properties;
  • Causing your spouse to lose his or her job; or
  • Creating a marital debt.

Illinois divorce courts can use their discretion in determining whether debt from a lawsuit brought against one spouse should be shared by both spouses. The court must decide based on the economic consequences of dividing the debt and not the immoral conduct in a marriage. You can protect yourself from sharing marital debt if there is a section in your postnuptial agreement saying that your spouse is responsible for any debts from a lawsuit. However, you cannot add such a provision to the agreement if you are already planning to divorce.

Parental Responsibilities

Courts will consider immoral conduct by a spouse when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. A spouse accused of sexual harassment may have been abusive at home. At the least, his or her actions show poor judgment that brings his or her parenting abilities into question. However, you must be careful in how you react to your spouse. An emotional response to your spouse’s infidelity may reflect poorly on you as a parent, such as:

  • Physically or verbally attacking your spouse;
  • Taking vindictive actions; or
  • Denying your spouse access to your children without a court order.

It is important that you demonstrate that you are the responsible parent if you want the court to award you a majority of the parental responsibilities.

Divorce After Sexual Harassment

You may be emotionally on edge when you decide to divorce your spouse after sexual harassment allegations. However, successfully going through a divorce often requires remaining calm. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can help you through an emotionally tiring divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm

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