How Will the Ashley Madison Breach Affect Military Spouses?

After hackers released the names, email addresses, and other personal information of millions of subscribers of a popular adultery website, the media quickly determined that a sizable number of these email addresses were held by government employees and military members. Not only may the release of this information affect these individuals' marriages, it could also impact their ability to remain employed. If your military spouse's email address was included in this leak, you may be wondering what is yet to come. Read on to learn more about how this data breach may impact your family.

Will military members whose email addresses have been released face disciplinary action?

While adultery isn't illegal under federal law, in the military world it may constitute grounds for a court-martial—a legal proceeding that could result in dishonorable discharge or the stripping of certain military benefits. However, these cases are relatively rarely prosecuted, and some members of the military have argued for a more "don't ask, don't tell" approach that will reduce the risk of having one's military career ended for marital indiscretions. 

Due to the size and scope of this data breach and the high number of military personnel impacted, it seems unlikely the armed forces will require their legal teams to devote much time to tracking down and ferreting out cheating spouses. This is especially true after reports that many of the email addresses listed as belonging to Ashley Madison members may not have been added to the site by the owner of the email address. However, the mere possibility of legal action should be enough to encourage all members of the armed forces to avoid using their military email address for any personal business.

How can this data breach impact divorce proceedings? 

Although military members are held to certain ethical and moral standards by the military itself, these standards are often not shared by the divorce courts. In states with "no fault" divorce laws, you can get divorced for any reason at all, and are not required to prove to the court anything but your desire to no longer be married to your spouse. 

However, some states still require the person petitioning for divorce to provide good cause as to why the marriage cannot recover. If you live in such a state, evidence of your spouse's indiscretions (obtained through this data breach) may give you everything you need to file and finalize your divorce. For legal advice about this topic, contact a military divorce lawyer like Karen Robins Carnegie PLC.