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Was your spouse on Ashley Madison?

10742012_S.jpgThe recent revelations of the data breach from Ashley Madison, a website used to facilitate marital infidelity, may cause significant problems for millions of couples. For an unhappy spouse, finding your husband or wife had an account may prove to be the tipping point, triggering the filing of divorce papers in a Missouri family court.

If you believed your marriage to be happy and you found your spouse's name, the primary question becomes one of trust. Was your spouse merely "investigating" the site, but never acted or was he or she actively playing the field? Or had someone stolen his or her name? Your confidence in the answers provided may determine how you proceed. 

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that in Missouri, and many other states, whether your spouse was actively cheating does not matter when you walk into court. The judge is not concerned whether your spouse was a callous, cold fish who ignored your needs and interests, or if they were the disingenuous phony who fooled you for years.

If you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse regarding your property settlement, or other terms of the divorce, the court will put together an equitable settlement. You may not be happy with the result, and your spouse's poor behavior will make little difference in that settlement.

With a divorce, there are always two components. First, there is the emotional side, which can be driven by sudden revelations of infidelity that destroys your trust and your marriage, or it can be the result of the slow change over years, as you gradually grow further apart.

Second, there is the financial, which involves all of your marital assets and income. Keeping the emotional from causing miscalculations with the financial is important, as emotions may fade with the passing years, but financial mistakes can haunt you for a long time.

Your attorney can help keep you on track and will work to protect your best interests during the divorce. But first, you have to decide if you want to divorce.

Source: forbes.com, "How Your Spouse's Ashley Madison Account Can Impact Your Divorce," Emma Johnson, August 24, 2014

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