The Ramifications of the Ashley Madison Hack

The Ramifications of the Ashley Madison Hack

The recent software hack on the website Ashley Madison, a website that is created to help married persons find a partner for an extramarital affair, will have serious ramifications in the family law realm. The hackers of the extramarital online dating website put out 37 million account holders, their credit card and billing information, their sexual proclivities and online tracks for the world to see, and with a click of a button, suspicious spouses may enter their spouse’s information to find if there is a match. The question that is on many individuals’ minds, both the spouses involved and those in the family law arena, is: “What will this mean for divorce?”

Forbes: The Effect of The Hack on Family Law and Marriage Counseling Industries

Forbes put out an article speculating about the effect that this great reveal would have on the family law and marriage counseling industries. The article hypothesizes (the article was written when the hack was just a threat) that there will be a boon in divorce proceedings and marriage counseling due to the emotional ramifications that come from cheating and infidelity. Marriages that were already in a tenuous position will either lead to marriage counseling or the hack may be an impetus to divorce, i.e. the last straw. Or, the article continues, marriages that were already in the beginning stages of a divorce, where there was still a certain level of amicability and the divorce was filed under a no-fault ground, may turn hostile as a result of the new information. What could have been a quick divorce under amicable circumstances now may lead to protracted suits as a result of hurt feelings. The Ashley Madison hack could also refute evidence put forth by one spouse that he/she was not engaged in an extramarital affair, leading to additional changes in a settlement.

How Can the Hack Affect Your Divorce Settlement?

Next, many will wonder what will be the probative value of the evidence put out as a result of the hack. Do divorce courts care about infidelity in divorce proceedings? Generally, no. Courts in the past gave weight and adjusted settlements when infidelity was revealed during the proceedings. Nowadays, when evidence comes to light that one of the spouses was engaged in infidelity, the courts generally do not factor in the infidelity into the distribution of property or alimony, unless the extramarital affair had an impact on the children or the financial circumstances of the marriage.

When Evidence of Infidelity Can Hurt Your Settlement

In other words, if infidelity occurred with little to no ramifications to the children or financials, then the court will gloss over the cheating. The infidelity may be pertinent in the settlement if the spouse can show:

  • That his/her children were harmed or could have been harmed as a result of the infidelity, for example
  • That the extramarital affair cost the marriage money
  • That the cheating spouse had claimed in a legal document that he/she did not engage in an extramarital affair or that no money was spent on the affair

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

If your spouse is on the Ashley Madison list, it may be difficult to decide what this will mean for your marriage. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can provide guidance on what steps will benefit you and how to protect yourself in a divorce. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.