Technology and divorce it ain’t pretty

With the spectacular breach of the adultery site Ashley Madison, millions of men and women throughout the United States can forget about the furtive liaisons they thought would remain private. Now, we have frantic phone calls to lawyers, arguments, and governmental investigations, but the question remains whether or not we will see an increased flurry of activity of spouses heading to divorce court.

Come clean quickly

While some divorce lawyers predict there could be a slight up-tick in divorce filings, other experts suggest the best possible way to deal with the data breach is to come clean quickly. It may be painful to hear that your spouse has had an affair, but the news is almost always better received if it comes directly from the cheating spouse.

Confessions prior to discovery, assuming they are remorseful and the cheating spouse wants to work on reconciliation, may eventually lead to a better relationship. Finding out your spouse cheated and hearing them lie about it over and over again is a sure fire way to destroy all of the trust in the relationship or erode any remaining trust.

Advances in technology lead to easy discovery

Another interesting component in the Ashley Madison debacle is the realization that technology, while it can allow us to make connections we could not make in the past, also makes it easier to find out what your spouse is doing.

In fact, whether it is emails, text messages, GPS, surveillance information gathered from your partner’s online activity, screenshots, internet search histories, or software capable of recording your spouse’s passwords, information about spouse’s cheating can be easy to find. It can also be more readily consolidated and used as evidence in a divorce proceeding.

Another issue for cheaters is that this technological footprint of their misdeeds may be very difficult to erase, even for the savvy computer user. In fact, divorce experts report there has been a significant increase in technological information submitted to them for their cases, information that one spouse may have thought they had eliminated.

Protecting yourself from technology

Divorce experts also have begun to warn their clients about using technology, especially any type of instant messaging, if they are considering filing for divorce. Other divorce lawyers suggest avoiding any type of technology which is permanent, especially any type of a “stream-of-consciousness” messaging where the information is sent and impossible to retrieve.

For those spouses who feel that they cannot completely eliminate all electronic communications before or during the divorce, attorneys recommend that the spouse at least pause and consider whether their communications may be incriminating. Unlike verbal communications which may simply come down to “he said, she said,” writing something online in a permanent medium could haunt you throughout the divorce proceedings.

Bottom line about technology:

In today’s technological environment spouses will have difficulty keeping an affair private. Even if you are not cheating, however, everyone should be very careful about what they write or post in a permanent medium. Not only can correspondence be misinterpreted, it can be used months later as evidence in a divorce proceeding.

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