Ashley Madison Hack and Divorces: A Legal View

Ashley Madison, an online dating service and social networking service, is marketed to people who are married or in a committed relationship for casual encounters, married dating, discreet encounters and extramarital affairs. This July, hackers stole customer data —including names, addresses, sexual fantasies, and credit card information—and threatened to post the identity of its customers and all the data stolen online if Ashley Madison, and its companion website, were not permanently closed.

On July 22, 2015, the hackers released the first names of Ashley Madison’s customers; the hackers made two further disclosures of customer data on August 18, 2015 and August 20, 2015. It appears that none of Ashley Madison’s customers were spared. Some Ashley Madison customers paid an additional $19 fee to allegedly have all of their data deleted. However, their data too appears to have been posted by the hackers. What effect, if any, does appearing on the published list have on a divorce, maintenance, or child custody proceeding? The short answer is very little, as adultery does not necessarily play a significant part in legal proceedings in the state.

Adultery Defined

Illinois defines adultery as sexual activity between a legally married person with someone other than his or her legal spouse.

Impact on Divorce

At this time, adultery may be used as a ground for divorce—a judge may rule that the spouse who engaged in adultery is at fault in the divorce and dissolve the marriage on that ground. Adultery, however, is not a factor in maintenance or custody determinations. Even though adultery is a ground for divorce, adultery cannot be considered at all when it comes to awards for maintenance. Maintenance is determined without regard to marital misconduct so that the amount of maintenance (formerly known as alimony) awarded is “fair and reasonable.”

Impact on Child Custody Proceedings

Likewise, adultery has little to no effect on child custody determinations; marital misconduct does not affect the ability of the spouse who engaged in adultery to be a loving and supporting parent.

Reach Out to Our Attorneys for Help

If you are going through a divorce, you have some tough decisions you will need to make. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with matters concerning divorce and family law, including custody, child support, and maintenance actions. We will ensure appropriate determinations of divorce grounds, maintenance, child custody and child support. Contact our office in Naperville, Illinois at 630-665-7676 to speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney who can help. Our attorneys are available by phone, fax, and email, and we represent clients throughout northern Illinois in DuPage County, Cook County, Kane County, Will County, and Kendall County. Call us today.