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Adultery and High Asset Divorces

 Posted on September 02, 2015 in Contested Divorce

Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex divorce lawyer, What bearing does the recent data breach at the adultery site Ashley Madison have on high-asset divorces in and around Travis County?

The Toronto-based company now faces several class-action lawsuits after hackers broke into the site and obtained personal information of about 39 million users, many of whom paid an additional $19 for a "permanent account deletion" that apparently never happened. Canadian lawyers quickly filed a class-action lawsuit against parent companies Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, demanding $578 million in damages. The lead plaintiff there is a Canadian man who joined the site briefly after his wife died from breast cancer.

Several similar lawsuits are already pending in Missouri and California.

Adultery in a Texas Divorce Case

The Lone Star State is one of the few jurisdictions where fault in the breakup of the marriage is a relevant factor in property division matters, and adultery one of the most common assertions in this area. Fault is relevant in both original divorce proceedings and modification actions. Although a high net worth divorce cannot normally be modified if the changed circumstances occurred prior to the final order, an aggressive attorney might convince a judge that facts from the Ashley Madison data breach were unavailable at the time, and the judge may allow a modification action based on the new evidence.

Although the data breach was an out-of-court transaction, it may be admissible as a non-hearsay statement under Rule 801(e), which allows witness impeachment through the use of prior inconsistent statements. Assume that Husband states under oath, either during live testimony or in a verified document, that he had neither cheated on Wife nor attempted to have an extramarital affair. His Ashley Madison membership could then be used to rebut that testimony.

There is a clearinghouse site that has access to the breached data, but it may not release the information publicly. In these situations, a letter from an attorney is often sufficient to obtain needed information; if the letter fails, a subpoena may be another option. If you suspect your spouse or ex-spouse of infidelity during the marriage, the Ashley Madison breach may be an excellent opportunity to obtain near-irrefutable evidence without resorting to expensive surveillance detectives.

Take advantage of this chance by partnering with an aggressive  Georgetown high asset divorce lawyer today. Mr. Powers is a board-certified family law specialist.




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