An Illinois judge recently took the opportunity to remind the courts and divorcing couples through out the state that while it is rarely prosecuted, adultery is still considered a crime in the state. The opinion was offered while the judge was hearing a peculiar case of a man who was suing his wife for allegedly reading emails he had sent to other women.
According to court documents, the trouble began when the wife filed for divorce in 2011, alleging that her husband had been unfaithful to her. To substantiate her claims, she had accessed his email and modified settings to forward her a copy of all of his correspondence — including some emails between him and some other women.
The husband countersued the wife, claiming that her actions were a direct violation of his rights under the Federal Wiretap Act, since she had gained access to his emails without his permission or consent. In his ruling on the matter, the judge noted that, while it was true that the wife's actions did seem to violate her husbands rights under his understanding of the Federal Wiretap Act, he added "I don't understand why law should promote dishonesty and deception by protecting an undeserved, a rightly tarnished, reputation."
The judge went on to express his feelings about how the matter should ultimately be resolved, stating "We might compare Mrs. Epstein to a bounty hunter — a private person who promotes a governmental interest. She has uncovered criminal conduct hurtful to herself, and deserves compensation, such as a more generous settlement in her divorce proceeding."
For couples who are facing a divorce, especially when there are significant assets to be divided, he steps that you might take to gain an upper hand in negotiations may not play out exactly as you hope. This is only one of many reasons why it is wise to enlist the guidance of experienced divorce attorney who can advise you on how best to pursue a fair settlement while working within the law to do so.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Adultery is a crime, judge tells man suing wife for reading lovers' emails," Kim Janssen, Dec. 21, 2016