As Pennsylvania residents may know, the Ashley Madison website was recently hacked, and 37 million client names were released. This website is set up as a dating service for married individuals looking for someone with whom to have an affair. Some people whose spouses were included on this list may be wondering how this knowledge might affect their subsequent divorce.
Considering that every state has some version of no-fault divorce laws, the fact that a spouse used this website and even met other people though it might not have much impact on a divorce settlement. However, feelings of hurt and resentment from discovering that a spouse used this website may lead to anger. Those sorts of feelings may lead to contention during the proceedings and end up costing more in legal fees for both parties.
Guilt over being discovered cheating on a spouse can lead to giving up too much in a divorce settlement. In addition, in an effort to try to win back a spouse's affections, a person may concede assets that are not necessary. Among American couples, between 20 and 40 percent have affairs at some time during the marriage. If a spouse decides to file for divorce, the best thing the other party may do is to uphold his or her own rights. Information on a dating website provided by a spouse might be useful in child custody hearings. Depending on what the judge in the case allows, it is unlikely but still possible if the cheating parent cited a predilection for unusual activities.
A person who is contemplating a divorce because of infidelity may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. Although it will not necessarily have an effect on a court's property division determination, it could play a part when negotiating a settlement agreement.