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Divorce: The Ashley Madison Hack

Question: I need some questions answered now because I'm very worried about the Ashley Madison hack. I work at a pretty large company in Buckhead and a number of men and women today were talking about the Ashley Madison website at lunch and what it could mean if personal data was made public. I could tell a lot of people were sweating.

A friend confided in me that he's an Ashley Madison user and that he was so scared about his information leaking online that he shut off his home internet and told his wife that it was down because of a computer glitch that could take a month or longer to fix. A lady I know at work spent the whole day searching the internet for updates on the situation because of her fear of being exposed. She's in a same-sex marriage and is seeing a man on the side.

I was just doing some exploring and put up an Ashley Madison profile as a joke and now I'm scared that my wife will find out and think I'm cheating and want a divorce. I've kept it up for about 3 years. She doesn't trust me since I got another woman pregnant years ago.

What is going to happen with Ashley Madison and how could the information that people posted be used in a divorce case.

C.F. in Roswell, GA

Answer: We've gotten a number of inquiries from people who could be affected by the Ashley Madison hack. The questions have been from both men and women who fear that their information, that they thought was strictly confidential, could be made public. The hackers have said the information contains personal sexual preferences (like gays and swingers) and myriad fetishes.

People have also contacted us to say that they were searching for a spouse's information to try to prove that the spouse is a cheater. So while many individuals are frightened of the prospect of being “outed” as a cheater, others are hoping that the hackers release the data so that they can use that information against a spouse.

If information is made public by the hackers who penetrated the website, it can be used in Georgia divorce proceedings. Its impact, however, will depend on the particular case and the particular circumstances. Of course, adultery, if proven, can have profound consequences in a divorce matter.

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