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Will those caught using Ashley Madison pay more in divorce?

The recent hacking and disclosure of client data from Ashley Madison, a dating website for married people, is sure to embarrass a lot of people, perhaps even a few in Minnesota. It is likely that most of Ashley Madison’s customers wanted to carry out their extramarital affairs without their spouses finding out, but now their secrets have been exposed to the world, CNBC reports.

The shock, anger and sense of betrayal many spouses are feeling after learning their husbands and wives have been using Ashley Madison to cheat will lead to divorce filings in many cases. It might be tempting to use the hacked data as evidence against the cheating spouse, but is that a good idea?

Virtually every state, including Minnesota, has a no-fault divorce system. This means that a spouse filing for divorce need not prove that the other spouse committed infidelity or otherwise “caused” the separation. Therefore, courts generally have little interest in whether one or both spouses cheated.

One important exception is when an affair might affect the children or marital assets. For example, a parent going through divorce may claim he or she cannot afford to pay child support, but evidence of a subscription to Ashley Madison, or photographs of a new sports car on Facebook, may belie that argument.

In addition, money spent on an affair could result in a greater share for the other spouse, though the total amount is likely to be relatively low.

So, your spouse finding out that you were using Ashley Madison could lead to divorce, but may not be very relevant in the divorce proceedings.

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