Dating Site Hack May Lead to Divorce Court
The recent hacking of a large dating site may lead to divorce court for many spouses. Ashley Madison is a dating website that reportedly caters to married individuals who are looking for extramarital affairs. According to news reports, the website’s hacking exposed information for millions of registered users. The responsible parties allegedly threatened to publish the names of the service’s users if the website was not shut down. Within weeks of making the threat, the hackers posted names, physical addresses, email addresses and partial credit card numbers for site subscribers.
News outlets are reporting that divorce attorneys immediately began experiencing an increase in calls from individuals wanting to file for divorce over their spouse’s participation on the website. Analysts predict that, as suspicious spouses continue to comb through the published lists, divorce rates may rise.
Adultery in Florida
In the state of Florida, adultery is technically crime. Though it is generally not pursued or prosecuted, it is illegal for a married person to engage in voluntary sexual intercourse with a person who is not his or her spouse. When this behavior leads to a breakdown of the marriage, a divorce is often sought by one or both spouses. However, under the state’s no-fault divorce grounds, you are not required to prove that any adultery took place before securing a divorce.
A no-fault divorce means that the state allows a couple to obtain a divorce without the requirement that one party prove the other party’s bad behavior. The party seeking a divorce must only show that the married couple is no longer compatible, with no hope of reconciliation. Many states adopted similar divorce statutes to alleviate some of the negativity and contention that often accompanies a divorce. However, if there is property to distribute or custody matters to settle, proof of adultery can affect on the outcome of the case.
Property Distribution and Custody
If an adulterous affair ended the marriage, leaving one party in a challenging financial situation, the court may be inclined to award the aggrieved spouse a larger portion of the marital assets. This is especially true if the cheating spouse spent marital funds to maintain the adulterous relationship of take of care of the paramour financially.
For custody determinations, the court uses a “best interest of the child” standard. Evidence of adultery may influence the judge when deciding which parent should maintain primary custody and which parent should receive visitation. It is not a mandatory factor for the court’s consideration, but the “moral fitness” of each parent is one determining element. Adultery may also come into play if the cheating spouse remains in a relationship with the paramour. The custodial desires of older children are often considered by family law judges. If the child does not get along with the paramour or harbors resentment towards the parent, the parent may not get primary custody.
If you are considering a divorce in the state of Florida, the attorneys of Vanessa L. Prieto, LLC can help you through the legal process. Located in Fort Lauderdale, our office serves Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation and to discuss your case.