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Will the Ashley Madison Hack Affect Divorce Numbers?
If the media coverage is any indication, the recent release of information about 32 million of users of Ashley Madison – a website that connects people who want to have extramarital affairs – is going to lead to a boom in divorce numbers over the coming months. Several outlets have reported an expected increase in divorce filings as a result of the release, while one headline bluntly reads, “Divorce Lawyers Brace for a ‘Tsunami’ After Ashley Madison Hack.”
Studies have shown that as many as 63 percent of spouses say they would be unable to forgive their partners for having an affair.
If you have discovered that your spouse was using Ashley Madison, or if you have been having an affair and are ready to bring your marriage to a close, it is important to understand how adultery does – and doesn’t – affect your rights in a divorce.
What Adultery Means for your Divorce
Florida’s No-Fault Divorce Law
Florida is among the growing number of states that provide for no-fault divorce. This means that married individuals can file for divorce in Florida at any time if they have reached irreconcilable differences with their spouse. In legal terms, your marriage would be considered, “irretrievably broken.” Even if your spouse’s adultery is the reason you have reached irreconcilable differences, under Florida law you would still file for a no-fault divorce.
When Having an Affair Comes Into Play
However, one spouse’s affair can still play an important role in the couple’s divorce. Infidelity may factor into:
- Equitable Distribution of Marital Property. In Florida, spouses’ marital assets are subject to “equitable distribution” in a divorce. If one spouse spent shared funds in furtherance of an affair, this can affect who gets what in a divorce.
- Alimony. Florida law allows one spouse’s adultery to be considered when determining an award of alimony.
- Time Sharing and Visitation (Child Custody). Under Florida law, all decisions relating to time sharing and visitation must be made in the best interests of the couple’s children. The Florida courts consider a laundry list of factors when evaluating these interests, including “moral fitness.” If an affair has a direct detrimental impact on the couple’s children, the cheating spouse’s conduct may affect his or her right to raise and spend time with them.
The extent to which a spouse’s affair will affect their divorce will depend on a wide range of factors. These include the extent of the infidelity and the parties’ willingness to reach a mutually-acceptable resolution. To find out more about your rights in a divorce, we encourage you to contact us for an initial consultation.
Do You Have Questions about Filing for Divorce? Contact McMichen, Cinami & Demps Today
The Ashley Madison hack is affecting millions of married couples across the country. If you or your spouse was having an affair and you want to explore your options for ending your marriage, our Orlando divorce attorneys are available to help you.
To learn more, call our law firm at 407-898-2161 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.