Lee Jin-Manap

Can the Ashley Madison hack affect your divorce?

WHILE the initial shock of the Ashley Madison hack is fading from the memories of many, the families of those involved are still dealing with the aftermath.

In August, the dating website with the slogan 'Life is short. Have an affair', was hacked, leaking more than a million Australian subscriber details onto the internet.

The exposed affairs are leading many couples to consider what their legal rights are, according to Garland Waddington family lawyer Micaela Chomley.

So, does having an affair or committing adultery mean one party is more favoured in divorce proceedings? Or is that just what happens in the movies?

Ms Chomley said people may be greatly disappointed (or some greatly relieved) to hear that the release of this information will bear little or no relevance in a family law matter in Australia.

"Since the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, Australia is a "no fault" jurisdiction which means that a Court is not particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of your marriage," Ms Chomley said.

"Prior to 1975, if parties wanted to get a divorce, then one had to prove that there was a ground for divorce.

"Today, if one party wants to walk away from the marriage simply because they have had enough, then provided there is 12 months of living separately, they can file for a divorce."

Ms Chomley said that when a relationship breaks down and family law issues arise, there is often a lot of stress and emotions that can cause physical and financial repercussions.

"This can be life shattering for both parties and particularly for the children involved in the break up," Ms Chomley said.

"Every family law matter is unique and it is important you receive advice tailored to your own facts and circumstances. The number one priority for people seeking divorce is to look after the best interests of their children and to protect their assets.

"Obtaining the correct advice at the time of your separation (or even before you separate) can minimise the devastating impact separation can have on the family unit."



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