Is online cheating about to cause a spike in divorce numbers?
As the New York Daily News and many other news sources have recently reported, a group calling themselves “The Impact Team” has hacked into the records of the online extramarital-affair facilitator Ashley Madison.
Ashley Madison is supposed to have a full delete function that, for $19, promises to erase all information about a client. According to the hackers, however, this isn’t the case. The hackers have threatened to release the sensitive information they’ve gathered if the adultery site isn’t taken down. And now, Ashley Madison clients are worried that their spouses will find out.
What a Profile Means
Without a doubt, if the information is released, there will be a lot of unhappy couples. That said, will the hack result in more divorces? Many experts say that the hack may have less of an effect on divorce rates — and on the number of at-fault divorces — than initially expected. According to The Street, a profile alone isn’t necessarily proof of infidelity, and New York City divorce attorney Morghan Richardson told Forbes that “everyone deals with infidelity differently.”
This is not to say that no divorces will occur as a result of the hack, but it may not be the legal basis for these splits. No-fault divorces are the prevailing form that settlements take in most states. Judges are likely to see an Ashley Madison profile as evidence of a failing relationship, yes, but they aren’t necessarily going to punish a former partner for their infidelity specifically. No-fault divorces are less complicated for judges and less expensive for divorcees. Some spouses will probably press for an at-fault divorce anyway because of the emotional turmoil involved, but others could also choose to end things as quickly and painlessly as possible.
So while the Ashley Madison hack may result in some extra divorces because of issues brought to light through knowledge of an account, evidence of a spouse’s profile may create little advantage for the wronged party. An exception to this is that the wronged party may have more control over custody or visitation rights if there’s proof of interaction with the lover while in the presence of children.
And while their spouse’s cheating may come as a complete surprise to some individuals, many others may consider it further evidence of an already established problem with the relationship. Observers of divorce trends may find it difficult to determine how many divorces involving Ashley Madison accounts would have happened anyway.
Work with the Right Divorce Lawyer for the Right Outcome
Ending a marriage is never easy. Unfortunately, the most complex cases can drag on for months or even years. A divorce lawyer is going to help you navigate the complicated and frustrating legal process of divorce, which is invaluable during this often stressful period in your life.
If you’re looking for support and expert legal representation during this difficult time, our team at Galbraith Family Law can help sort things out and get you results. Contact us today for a consultation.