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Impact of Ashley Madison Hack on Divorce

On July 15th, 2015, the extramarital affair website AshleyMadison.com was hacked, and reportedly millions upon millions of user account data files were released to the public. As the website was geared entirely towards the goal of assisting married people cheat on their spouses, it was anticipated that the world would see a massive spike in divorces – about 32 million, to be more precise. Months later, the question to ask is: did divorce rates actually rise because of Ashley Madison?

To put it simply, the answer appears to be 'no.' There has not been a noticeable boom in divorces since the hack, and areas reporting an increase could not point to the website with certainty as the cause. For the most part, the divorce spike seems to have been speculation. But why didn't it make the titanic splash divorce attorneys and law firms around the globe were predicting?

How Ashley Madison Might Not Have Affected Much

There are actually a number of factors that might have come into play that prevented the divorce rate spike:

  1. Torrents of data: Most of the data released was uncategorized and disorganized. It was only put into lists after news sources trawled through it and posted the information onto websites that were quite often bogged down with advertisements. People looking for names on the list were in for a headache if they wanted to search for one name among 32 million. Furthermore, people who didn't suspect their spouses were cheating, or those who weren't up to speed on the news, never even knew the list of names existed. This could have been a reprieve for an immeasurable number of Ashley Madison users.
  2. Unbalanced membership: Although the numbers are clouded, it is estimated that the vast majority of Ashley Madison users were males seeking women. This meant that finding a reciprocal female user in your area as a male user was close to picking out a needle in a haystack. There are also speculations that say close to 70,000 female accounts on the site were actually dummy accounts. If a user was called out for being on the list, odds are high that he might be able to quickly point out that nothing came from it, arguing "no harm, no foul."
  3. No-fault divorce: The United States and many other territories around the world recognize "no-fault divorce." This means that you can file for a divorce for any reason, even something as vague as irreconcilable differences. Finding your spouse on Ashley Madison didn't put them at any new legal disadvantage, so filing for divorce now would not be any different from filing for divorce before the hack. Thus, if someone was on the fence about divorcing their spouse, the leaked information probably didn't tip them one way or another.

If you have additional questions about divorce laws or if you need help with a divorce in New York, contact our Long Island divorce lawyers from Jonathan E. Kroll & Associates, PLLC today. Free consultations and evening appointments are available! Just call (516) 324-3138 now to learn more information.

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