Divorce Implications of Ashley Madison
Recently, hackers accessed the personal information of users of the online dating site Ashley Madison and released that information publicly.
Ashley Madison is unique in the online dating arena because it specifically targets individuals seeking to have an extramarital affair. The potential impact of the release of data associated with the website may prove significant and result in an increase in divorce filings.
The “Impact Team” Takes on Ashley Madison
Ashley Madison, owned by Avid Life Media, is a website that connects married individuals who desire to have an affair. In July, hackers known as the “Impact Team” were allegedly able to gain access to account information of Ashley Madison users. The Impact Team allegedly demanded that the site be shut down and, when it did not happen, the account information of 33 million profiles was allegedly released, including 36 million e-mail addresses.
Six official State of Illinois e-mail addresses were among those released. Additionally, e-mail addresses linked to the U.S. military and the White House were allegedly a part of the hackers' release.
Under Illinois law, a person commits adultery when he or she has sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her spouse. Though not usually enforced, Illinois considers adultery a Class A misdemeanor.
Of course, not every individual who created an account on the Ashley Madison website actually committed adultery. However, it is fair to assume that a large number of the individuals who signed up did engage in some sort of extramarital affair. Moreover, with the large number of profiles involved, it is a certainty that the number of strained relationships will increase, leading to an increase in the number of divorce filings.
At the present time, Illinois recognizes both fault and no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither spouse acted in a manner which directly caused the end of a marriage; however, there are irreconcilable differences that “have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts would be impracticable and not in the best interest of the family.”
Alternatively, a divorce may be initiated by the fault of one of the parties, including if the person requesting the divorce proves that, without provocation, his or her spouse committed adultery during the marriage. However, an Illinois court cannot consider the fact that a spouse committed adultery when allocating the property of the parties. Illinois law requires the division of “marital property without regard to marital misconduct.”
The alleged release of Ashley Madison account information will likely initiate the end of many relationships. If you find yourself in this position, it is important to consult an attorney. For more information about the process of divorce, speak with a skilled Illinois family law attorney at MKFM Law today. We provide compassionate legal representation for individuals who are dealing with the end of their marriage.