How adultery affects property division

One of the biggest news stories in the past few weeks has been the unfolding story of the hack of Ashley Madison. Ashley Madison is a site on which married individuals can find someone with which they can have an affair. Though adultery is not illegal, it is typically regarded as a terrible act. With the hack, about 37 million people have been exposed as cheaters, including many in Massachusetts.

Briefly, a group called The Impact Team threatened to publish the data they had gathered by hacking Ashley Madison unless changes were made. Specifically, they wanted the site to disable the “full delete” feature, which allows users to wipe away any trace of their presence on the site. Ashley Madison refused, and the data was released for public consumption.

As such, many couples in Massachusetts will likely be looking for a divorce in the next few months as their partner is exposed is a cheater. It is important to understand exactly how adultery plays into the divorce process, especially when it comes to dividing assets.

In essence, adultery is a valid reason to grant a divorce in Massachusetts. But, it has no bearing on dividing marital property. The only exception is if the unfaithful partner spend large amounts of marital money on the affair. Otherwise, the infidelity is disregarded.

Anyone who is considering a divorce due to adultery or any other reason may benefit from speaking with an attorney. A divorce lawyer may be able to provide in-depth information and advice, as well as legal representation in court.

Source: The Verge, “The Ashley Madison hack: everything you need to know,” Jacob Kastrenakes, August 19, 2015

Secondary Source: The 189th General Court of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “General Laws: Chapter 208,” Accessed August 21, 2015

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