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How Ashley Madison Membership Affects PA Divorces

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 14-Sep-2015

Ashley Madison, the controversial adultery website based in Canada has gained international attention in recent months after hackers released customer data, including names and home addresses of some 39 million users.

The site known for its slogan, "Life is short. Have an affair" is not only the subject of a class action lawsuit requesting $578 million in damages, it's the sight that Josh Duggar, 27, the star of TLC's19 Kids and Counting, had not one but two accounts with.

How will the Ashley Madison hack impact Pennsylvania divorces? If a spouse finds out that their husband or wife had an account with the cheating spouses website, it may lead to the nonparticipating spouse filing a fault ground divorce complaint, which alleges adultery.

Unfortunately, proving that one's spouse was a member may not be enough, as most claims of adultery require an act of extramarital relations, not just "intent."

If the adultery claim is unsuccessful, the innocent spouse may want to file for divorce under the indignities ground, which argues that the non-website participating spouse's life has become "burdensome and intolerable" due to their spouse's membership status and the notoriety created by that status.

Can membership affect property division?

As far asset division in a Pennsylvania divorce, there will be little effect on how the couple's assets are divided, even if one of the spouses had an account with Ashley Madison. This is because fault is not a factor when judges divide assets.

However, a judge certainly may consider how much marital assets a cheating spouse spent on an affair, and that figure can be used against the cheating spouse when dividing the assets. When a spouse depletes the marital assets to subsidize an affair, it is known as a dissipation of marital assets.

Pennsylvania judges consider fault grounds when determining whether to award alimony. That said, an adulterous spouse may be ordered to pay alimony, long after the Ashley Madison hack is forgotten.

Looking for a Pennsylvania divorce attorney? Call Cairns Law Offices for a free consultation!