Cheating doesn’t matter, does it?

On June 1, 2016 Illinois became a no-fault divorce state. Since this change, issues such as adultery, domestic abuse, and substance abuse are -in principle- no longer considered by the Court when allocating assets and liabilities.

However, a spouse who suspects that their counterpart is spending marital funds for extra-marital relationships or using marital assets to finance other vices may ask the court for reimbursement to the marital estate by filing a claim for dissipation. 

Under Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a spouse may claim dissipation for any suspected unconsented waste of marital resources that occurred prior to 3 years after the spouse making the claim knew or should have known about the waste, but not to exceed five (5) years prior to the filing of the claim. 

Illinois courts have found the following uses of marital funds to be dissipation:

  • Using marital funds to pay child support for a child born out of wedlock; 
  • Taking marital funds to gamble or buy illegal substances;
  • Investing money into a failing business;
  • Purchasing personal property in lieu of paying the mortgage/rent

and utilities; and of course Using marital funds to finance an extramarital relationship. 

While judges no longer “penalize” a spouse for culpability of the failing relationship, the IMDMA still gives them the ability to make a spouse whole for the unconsented and/or irresponsible use of marital funds by their ex. If you or someone you know suspects that marital funds were/are being spent on purposes that in no way benefit the family unit, then a call to a domestic relations attorney (such as us!) may be in your future.