On August 15, 2015, tens of millions of people across the world had their individual infidelities exposed at the hand of a massive hack towards popular affair site, Ashley Madison. All three of our local jurisdictions (Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia) rank in the top 15 of the “Most Unfaithful States in America” with Maryland ranked 11th, Virginia ranked at 10th, and the District of Columbia ranked as the 3rd most unfaithful state. These rankings were determined based on the dollars spent on AshleyMadison.com within each state per capita. In fact, the DMV area had nearly 60,000 registered Ashley Madison users!
While those unaffected sit back and marvel at the great numbers of subscribers to this “cheater’s” website, for those who have been condemned, a greater issue looms. The threat of divorce is prevalent in many users’ lives. While this is a difficult time for both those who have been allegedly cheated on and the alleged cheaters, it is important to remember to keep the information leaked as a result of this “hack” in perspective. Not all registered users committed adultery and, even in cases where the Ashley Madison-registered spouse DID commit adultery, proving so may be very difficult.
Adultery and Divorce Cases
There are various considerations when it comes to adultery matters, such as:
- Power: Many assume that because they have been cheated on, the court will rule in their favor and grant their every request. While the court does consider the grounds or cause of the breakdown of the marriage, the reality is that Maryland, like many states, does not tend to overly punish OR reward spouses in matters involving adultery.
- Finances: As mentioned above, Maryland courts are generally not overly punitive towards cheating spouses, so it is unlikely that one spouse’s adultery will result in a financial windfall for the other. However, documentation of credit card and bank statements that show how much a cheating spouse spent on Ashley Madison or other expenses associated with carrying out an affair may be deemed as “dissipation of marital assets“ and may be recovered through the divorce process.
- Child custody: Character considerations do play a role when a judge is determining which party should have custody of the children. However, it is important to keep in mind that infidelity does not necessarily imply bad parenting. Oftentimes a spouse who was the victim of infidelity feels entitled to custody of the children, but judges will always consider the best interests of the children before they consider the emotions of the parents.
For Legal Representation in Maryland, Contact us
If the Ashley Madison leak affected your family and you would like to speak with an experienced family law attorney in the Maryland area, please contact us at (301) 563-6685. You can also reach us online, and we will get back to you shortly to schedule a consultation.
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