There is always a leading news story of the day. Last week, multiple days covered the Ashley Madison data breach of the names of men and women enrolled as members on a site for married people wanting to have an affair. Lawyers from all areas, from internet security to class action (such as the sought class certification in Canada), are largely unmoved and not surprised by this latest revelation of a site boasting a “100% Discreet Service.”
From a marriage and divorce standpoint, there are five things you should know about this breach as it relates to you and your understanding of marriage, divorce, and relationships. First, perhaps basic common sense, but if you do not want what you are doing to become public once put into the e-world, do not do it. A computer security expert has to be right 100% of the time, but a hacker in some unknown part of the deep web, cab be right just 1 percent of the time to succeed.
Second, digital “evidence” is common place in divorce, from Facebook posts to emails and text messages. If you send it, and litigation ensues, such as a divorce filing, this information is usually able to be authenticated and admitted into court.
Third, Indiana is not a fault based state, nor is any other in the United States. This means that infidelity is not required to obtain a divorce. An affair is a common story heard by divorce attorneys. Mostly, it is just inflammatory and not significant in the divorce.
Fourth, you may have surmised every rule has exceptions. So is the case with the implications of infidelity, not the act itself. This consequently may impact the divorce, such as if a parent leaves a child unattended to be with this person. That factors into the children’s best interests. Also, if lavish gifts or trips are given to this person, this may be dissipation of the marital estate and attributable to the person having the affair. This means it is subtracted from what they receive in the trial court’s discretion.
Fifth and finally, sites like Ashley Madison reflect pressures and some calls for change on all aspects of what is legal and acceptable. Is a sexual chat on-line “cheating?” What is a family? These questions face you, lawyers, the judiciary and society at large as we move into the electronic age. It is possible this may factor into your case and change the law.
We hope this blog post puts the Ashley Madison leak in perspective for you from a divorce and relationship standpoint from Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. lawyers’ perspective. This blog post is written for general educational purposes only and is not intended for legal advice or a solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates practice across the State of Indiana.