I became a divorce lawyer to help people get through one of the most traumatizing periods of their life. I recently stopped practicing traditional divorce litigation because I felt I wasn’t helping…anybody, including my own clients. Most of the time, neither party left “happy” or “satisfied.”
When the news about Ashley Madison’s secure member information being hacked broke, it created a stir and some serious water cooler chatter.
It’s simple. Because it’s a site for cheaters, people who are mostly married but looking to have an affair, fling or whatever. That hits a sore spot for many and I don’t have to go into why.
And cheating is BIG BUSINESS. Here are some numbers to show just how popular Ashley Madison is:
It has more than 38,535,000 members!
Facebook: 40K followers
Twiter: 10.6 Thousand followers
Youtube: 3,512 subscribers, many videos have thousands of views, some
with 100,000 +.
Ashley Madison clams it brings in $100 million per year. That’s not small ball to use a sports analogy.
I read comments in many online forums discussing the hacking of the controversial web site. There were a lot of comments that was some variation of “Divorce lawyers are licking their lips.” I did not conduct an official survey, but if I had to guess, more people wanted the hacked information to become public and expose the cheaters to the court of public opinion than those who blame the hackers for committing a crime against a company.
As a divorce attorney, I was offended by the comments about lawyers licking their lips. First, I don’t lick my lips. I tend to drool when I sleep, but I digress. While I’m sure many spouses would file for divorce if they found out their mate was a member of Ashley Madison, I am not one who is “licking my lips” in the hopes the hackers release that information so I can get new business.
I am, however, hoping the information does get released. Here is my motivation.
It Will Force The Conversation That Needs To Be Had
People cheat on their spouse for a reason. I won’t go into what those reasons are here, but needless to say, there are many reasons why someone would cheat on their spouse.
Without knowing all the facts about the actual marriage, I would bet that there is a communication breakdown between the spouses that has been growing for a while. At some point in a broken relationship, one or both people shut down and just stop trying. It’s sad. Instead of getting divorced, cheating happens.
If the membership information for Ashley Madison were released, it would force both spouses to have the conversation they probably should have had a long time ago. The relationship might end in a divorce, but maybe it won’t.
I’ve heard experts say that most cheaters WANT to be caught. The cheating party engages in risky conduct subconsciously hoping he/she will get caught so they can face the music and either repair what’s broken, or move on.
So, if the membership information is made public, the cheater will be “caught” and the marriage can start to either be repaired, or end. Either way, there is movement and a path to closure.
It’s Not About Getting More Business.
As a business owner, of course I want more business. But, even though I’m a divorce attorney, I hate to see marriages break up and go through a contentious divorce process. I always encourage my clients to exhaust all avenues of reconciliation before they go through with a divorce with me.
I rather have one consultation and see them get some counseling and give it another shot than retain me to coach them through the divorce process.
That’s why I stopped litigating divorces; I’m here to help people in any way I can. Sometimes, that means getting helping someone get divorced, but a lot of times it means referring them to a counselor (if they don’t already have one) or helping them clarify their own issues and helping them figure out if they really want a divorce.
Cheaters Don’t Have To Cheat If They Get Divorced.
The majority of people subscribed to Ashley Madison are in broken marriages. I didn’t say everyone because some couples have open relationships and alternate lifestyles that works for them. I want to see all of these broken marriages either work to repair the relationship, or get divorced. Preferably the former. The divorce rate is high enough that I’m not worried about starving for business.
On one hand, I don’t understand why people resort to cheating? Nobody has a gun to your head telling you to stay married. Get divorced, move on and you can date whomever you want whenever you want. Cheating and lying all the time takes a lot of effort and I get tired just thinking about juggling all that on top of my already full schedule.
On the other hand, I understand why people don’t want to get divorced. Maybe they have young children. Maybe they can’t afford a contested divorce. Maybe they are afraid to be single again at an older age. The reasons are many.
My point is that as long as one or both people are having affairs and living a secret life, there will be no movement.
That’s not good for anyone.
Jason Levoy, a/k/a The Divorce Resource Guy, is an attorney who teaches people without a lawyer how to navigate the divorce process and represent themselves in court. He regularly provides free advice via his blog, VIP newsletter and moderates a Private Divorce Facebook Group.
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