Ashley Madison Data Breach and Divorce

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Sep 05, 2015 | 0 Comments

As just about everyone now knows, Ashley Madison is an online dating site designed for people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. The company's advertising slogan is “life is short, have an affair.” As everyone also knows, the Ashley Madison servers have recently been hacked, and a list of all customers who have signed up for the online dating service has been released to the public via several websites.

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A result of the Ashley Madison list, we have heard about people's lives being destroyed and marriages ending. We have heard about people committing suicide when their information was released. We have head about a politician resigning from his office when his membership to the site became public, and we have heard about countless women filing for divorce when they learned their husband was a member of Ashley Madison.

However, a recent news article from Bloomberg Viewquestions whether it is really worth getting a divorce if your spouse was a member of Ashley Madison. While this may seem like a strange question, it is important to examine Ashley Madison in the context of who the other members of the site were. While the site is allegedly designed for married people to meet other married people, so they can engage in an extramarital affair, of the accounts for the roughly 5.5 million female profiles, only 9,700 of these allegedly-real women ever responded to a message from any of the 5.9 million male users who sent messages. In other words, it is believed the vast majority of men were corresponding with fake profiles likely set up by internet porn merchants trying to direct people to their websites. As the author of the article notes, for every eligible male looking to have an affair, there was “two-thousandths of a willing woman” looking to meet that man.

Some question why this would lead to divorce, since, in reality, it is just as harmful to a marriage as a man looking at non-interactive forms of porn on the internet. Our Birmingham divorceattorneys know that in an already stressed marriage, things like this can be more than enough to lead the other spouse to question whether it is worth staying in the marriage. The reality of this is that, while some of this may be quite harmless, there is a good chance neither party to the marriage is all that happy, and they may decide to move on with their respective lives. Filing for divorce may be the best thing for everyone involved.

While no spouse would take comfort in the fact their spouse used family resources to purchase a membership on a site designed to find a person with whom to have an extramarital affair, this may be just what pushes matters to their breaking point. If you are at this point in your marriage, and you do not feel that any amount of counseling will fix the situation, the best thing you can do is to speak with an experienced family law attorney. This way, you will know what your options actually are and what you must do to start a new life.

Additional Resources:

Why Get Divorced Over Ashley Madison?, August 20, 2015, Bloomberg View, by Leonid Bershidsky

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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