Ever since its usage became widespread, the Internet has always been a perfect example of the mixed blessing. It can bring more information to your fingertips than any public library, and can do so faster, but much of that information is of questionable value. It can be a great tool to increase productivity at work, but is at the same time the world champion portal for wasting time. And it can make activities such as online banking and bill-paying easy, but simultaneously leaves many users vulnerable to having all of their account data – including their personal information – compromised by online thieves.
Users of the “Ashley Madison” website – which purports to facilitate marital infidelity among its 37 million claimed members by serving as a virtual meeting place for people interested in cheating on their spouses – may be discovering this data vulnerability the hard way soon, as they wait to see whether the individual or group who compromised the site’s security will make good on the threat to make available to the public their identities as well as other information, including their credit card numbers, if the site does not voluntarily shut down.
Several family law lawyers who have been interviewed in a news story about the Ashley Madison data breach have acknowledged that they already have clients who are going through divorce as a result of a spouse being caught using that website or who have had an affair through its facilitation. Most of these attorneys expect to see an increase in Ashley Madison-generated business; some are even talking about raising their hourly fees in anticipation of what they expect to be an increased market demand for their services.
Aside from being an important lesson in the need to be wary about divulging personal information online, the Ashley Madison data breach also serves as a reminder that there are many reasons why a married couple anywhere in the country, including in New Jersey, may choose to end their relationship. Infidelity is but one reason, there are others as well. Regardless of the cause, by divorcing couple – especially one that has potentially complex matters to resolve such as child custody and support or considerable assets to be divided – would be well advised to seek legal counsel as they go through the process.
Source: CNN Money, “Ashley Madison hack could be Christmas in July for divorce lawyers,” Emily Jane Fox, July 21, 2015