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If you cheat on your spouse will divorce cost you more?

Infidelity has caused the breakups of many marriages across the country, including some in Illinois. Although many people understand the emotional impact of a divorce caused by cheating, what part does infidelity play in the legal aspect of divorce? 

News broke today of Eliot Spitzer's divorce settlement. After the former governor of New York became caught up in a prostitution scandal a few years ago, Spitzer and his wife apparently tried to mend their relationship. Early this year, however, they filed for divorce. Now that the terms of their divorce settlement have been made public, some are suggesting that Spitzer's wife got a good deal because of her husband's infidelity. 

Spitzer will hand over $7.5 million to his ex-wife. She will keep their home in New York City and receive $240,000 every year from Spitzer for the rest of her life. Plus, every five years, Spitzer will buy her a new car. While it is clear that Spitzer's ex-wife will not suffer financially after their divorce, does infidelity require a person to shell out more in the divorce?

The fact of the matter is that divorce courts usually will not even consider a couple's reason for divorcing. The judge most likely will not care whether you or your spouse cheated on the other or otherwise caused the breakup of your marriage. What a judge really cares about is whether your settlement is fair based on the financial needs of each person after divorce. So why did Eliot Spitzer end up paying so much? While it's not entirely clear, it is possible that guilt played a role.

Source: New York Daily News, "Silda Wall Spitzer gets $7.5 million divorce payout," Leslie Larson, April 28, 2014

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