The AshleyMadison.com hack has been making headlines for the last couple of weeks, and we’re bound to hear more about it in the coming weeks as well. I think the release of information about site users teaches us a few valuable lessons, and not necessarily the ones you might think.
First, it reminds us all how very vulnerable we are when we’re online. The hackers now have access to credit card numbers and personal information as well as names, telephone numbers and email addresses. One of the things I tell my clients all the time is to be careful what they put online and on social media. The hack reminds us that there are far more sinister elements at play here. Victims of identity theft can take years to recover their losses, rebuild their credit and restore their names.
Second, it shows us how easy it is to lose power over our lives. Couples who choose to divorce should have the option to tell their loved ones why they are divorcing. That power of their own lives and information has been stripped from them. Not only do users and their spouses risk feeling humiliated, but so do their children. And people who feel cornered, as many of these people most likely do, can lash out in anger or succumb to depression.
Those feelings – anger, humiliation, depression – can manifest in different ways during a divorce. The website user may feel as though he or she must give up more than his or her fair share of the assets, or be “guilted” into spending less time with their children. Spouses of Ashley Madison users might feel they are “owed” more because they were embarrassed, and allow that anger to influence how contentious they wish to be. Even couples who were separating for other reasons might feel the effects of the hack in their divorce proceedings.
In the end, the Ashley Madison hack could have farther-reaching repercussions on couples in Tennessee who wish to divorce – even if the spouse who belongs to the website never actually used the site. I have been a divorce attorney in Blount County for a long time, and I have seen firsthand how emotional and difficult it can be when two people feel judged by friends and loved ones (and in this case, strangers) for a part of their lives that should be entirely private. All it really does is hurt them and their children.
Whether or not the Ashley Madison hack plays any role in your divorce, I want you to know that my office is a safe and secure place to discuss your goals and needs. To learn more about the divorce services I offer, please contact my law office – Kevin W. Shepherd, Attorney at Law – and reserve an appointment at my Maryville or Franklin location.