Ashley Madison: Adultery in the Age of Technology

Ashley, our barn cat, is very upset to have her name associated with this kind of scandal.
Ashley, our barn cat, is very upset to have her name associated with this kind of scandal.

Hi there,

This seemed like an apt post following CiCi’s miniseries on the The 7 Deadly (Tech) Sins of Divorce. There’s a huge scandal right now revolving around precisely what you shouldn’t do BEFORE getting divorced.

I remember being shocked when I first found out about Ashley Madison’s business. I shouldn’t have been, since you can find anything on the internet. I know, as do all divorce lawyers, that certain folks will cheat, and they will cheat serially throughout their marriages. But there was just something uber-contrived about a site for people who wanted to cheat to find people with whom to cheat. Especially one that claims it has 37 million members! I mean, really, if you can’t find your own mistress, that’s just plain lazy.

And now they’re in deep trouble. Ashley has been hacked. Some of her clientele has been outed, including a man from Massachusetts‘ own town of Brockton! At our divorce group lunch there was a not-entirely-humorous suggestion that we check the names of parties against the published names of Ashley’s clientele. While most judges don’t pay a lot of attention to a party having had an affair, they do look at the cost of the affair, and if affairs were a pattern during the marriage as opposed to a symptom that the marriage is ending. The forethought and deliberation that it takes to hire a service, create a profile and actively seek to find someone who wants to cheat might well be enough to focus the judge’s attention on behavior.

In any case, if I have one ironclad piece of advice it would be: “Don’t cheat!” It will cost you. Not so much in what the court does or doesn’t do, but in how you will hurt your spouse and how that pain will translate into much, much higher legal fees. Although nothing has happened with the hackers’ list of names and information since the scandal first broke, there could be a steep little spike in divorce cases were that list to be leaked.