If you find yourself in the extremely painful position of being the spouse of someone who graced the disgraceful Ashley Madison leaked membership list, the decisions you make now could affect the rest of your marriage and life. Rather than letting your emotions get the better of you, analyze the situation from a legal, financial, and rational perspective so that you can make the right decisions. Making the right decisions now will help you avoid further financial and emotional damage. Here are a few Q&As to get you started on the right path:
Does His or Her Conduct Constitute Cheating?
Yes. Your spouse’s conduct and intent to have an affair is cheating. From that realization, you can either condone it by continuing to have sex with your spouse or address it head-on. For the majority of cases, condoning it will only lead to more cheating as the spouse will know that he or she can get away with it. If you want to address it, there are only two options: separation or reconciliation. Separation means no sex until you decide what you are going to do. Reconciliation means you discuss it, resolve it, and then continue to have sex. In other words, you and your spouse agree to put the matter behind you. The important thing is that you have discussed and resolved it.
Should I Continue Having Sex With My Spouse?
You should not engage in sex with your spouse if you are considering separation or divorce. Having sex after you learn of infidelity is the same as forgiving the infidelity, and it prevents you from utilizing that conduct as a basis for the divorce. The legal term is condonation. It means you condone – that is, you forgive your spouse’s conduct. So if you have sex after you know of the infidelity, your spouse can rightfully say he or she was forgiven, even if you never say a word about it. In court, one sexual act can negate months or years of cheating.
Do I Confront My Spouse Immediately?
Do not mention your discovery. Speak with an attorney first. I tell anyone who is considering a divorce to speak with an attorney before you speak with your spouse. An attorney will talk to you about your options, help you strategize your next step, and educate you on gathering necessary financial documents to protect yourself in the event of a divorce. Knowledge is power and you should begin from a position of strength.
Will The Cheating Help Me Receive a Better Divorce Settlement?
Probably. In most cases, conduct is not a major issue, but it is an issue and will better your position and your claim for equitable division, alimony, and attorney’s fees.
If you have discovered your spouse’s name on the list, be rationally proactive rather than letting your emotions run the show. Speak with a lawyer before anything else and start planning your next step.