Clients of the infamous Ashley Madison website have some experts in the divorce industry on edge. The website, which helps married individuals connect with one another to have extramarital affairs, was targeted by a hack that collected its list of clients. Now that the list has been released to the general public, some suspect that the divorce rate could soon be on the rise in New York and across the country.
The front page of the Ashley Madison website makes two promises -- that it is discreet and safe. Because of those guarantees, users likely felt secure while accessing the website. Still a group by the name of the Impact Team was able to hack into the Ashley Madison system and snag mounds of personal data on users. The group then gave the company an ultimatum -- take the website down or have clients' information exposed.
The website is still up and running, and the hackers ultimately did more than just release the names of clients who had a paid account on the website, they also included accompanying email and home addresses. The list was made available online and anyone can view it, including spouses who may already feel suspicious. While the rise in divorces might not be immediate, many in the industry believe that the results of this hack will eventually lead to a temporary increase.
While it appears that the hackers believed they were taking a moral stand against something they disagreed with, Ashley Madison has condemned the act, calling it criminal and invasion of their clients' personal lives. No matter how or why the hack occurred, the impact will likely be felt soon enough as couples determine whether divorce is an appropriate course of action. For New York couples who do choose to divorce over matters of indiscretion, it is possible to elect to file on the grounds of adultery rather than the more popular no-fault divorce.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Lawyers Brace For 'Tsunami' After Ashley Madison Hack", Alexander C. Kaufman, Aug. 19, 2015