The website Ashley Madison, which openly facilitates adulterous relationships, was recently hacked, exposing thousands of its customers’ identities. It is important to understand how adultery affects a potential maintenance award in a divorce proceeding. Under Illinois law, courts will look at the following factors to determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate:
- The income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned to and non-marital property retained by the party seeking maintenance;
- The needs of each party;
- The present and future earning capacity of each party;
- Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities;
- The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment;
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
- The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
- The contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse; and
- Any valid agreements of the parties
Under Illinois law, adultery is not a factor used by the courts when determining a maintenance award. However, adultery can come in to play in other aspects of the divorce process. The term “dissipation” refers to the use of marital funds by one spouse for his or her own personal benefit, unrelated to the marriage. For example, if a spouse spends marital funds on a website such as Ashley Madison, the court can order those funds to be returned to the marital estate, thus possibly affecting how the court divides marital property between the parties.
If you are a contemplating filing for divorce, your best chance at success will be to hire an experienced attorney to help you with your case. If you are in need of legal representation in a dissolution action, contact Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, at 312-605-4041 to schedule an initial consultation.