Britain’s top divorce lawyer has said that cheating spouses caught out in the Ashley Madison hack may have simply been seeking affection and companionship “after years of abuse, alienation or rejection”.
Ayesha Vardag, who has represented tycoons, heirs and royalty, said judges should not be swayed by emotional partners discovering their wife or husband was a member of the infidelity website whose slogan is “life’s too short – have an affair”.
Ms Vardag, president of Vardags, said: “Even when cheating is cited as the reason for a break-up it’s only ever part of the story. A cheating spouse may be selfishly philandering for fun, but equally they may be responding to affection and companionship after years of abuse, coldness, alienation or rejection.
“The focus of the courts has to be sharing out in a very practical way the assets of the marriage and making sure all the family’s needs are met. They also need to make sure the children are properly looked after and have support for a full relationship with both their parents. The courts are not equipped to judge the nuances of sexual and emotional relationships between a couple. Perhaps no one is.”
Her warning comes as it emerged the first divorce case to stem from the hack has been set in motion. Nigel Shepherd, a partner at family law firm Mills and Reeve, said that a married woman had contacted him after discovering her husband’s details among the hacked accounts.
Ms Vardag also said the discovery of a partner cheating should not always mean a relationship has to end.
“For many couples, a high-profile outing as an adulterer could actually be just what the doctor ordered,” she said. “This might seem like an unusual view - especially for someone with my job – but time and again I’ve seen couples rush into decisions they later regret. It’s usually the same story. Cheaters tend to be very contrite when first discovered and then, slowly, they feel like themselves again and start to kick back.”
The international fallout following the release of 37 million Ashley Madison customer accounts has continued following a second wave of personal data alleged to have come from the website and published online by the Impact Team hackers.
The group, which claims to have breached the site’s database and posted millions of user details to the remote dark web earlier this week, uploaded a second cache of data focusing on the website’s staff and architecture. They had apparently been annoyed by statements from Noel Biderman, Chief Executive of the website’s parent Company, Avid Life Media, which did not state whether the original data published was definitely real.
According to reports, this latest leak included a message that read: “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now.”
The best, worst, and most unusual dating sites
The best, worst, and most unusual dating sites
1/18 Clown Dating
"It's no fun looking for love when you're a clown, behind all the make-up and the red nose is a lonely heart. Clowns are unique entertainers loved by some yet feared and hated by others. Luckily Clown Dating is here to help."
2/18 Dead Meet
"A dating networking site for death industry professionals"
"Tinder is the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. Swipe right to like or left to pass. If someone likes you back, it’s a match!"
4/18 Plenty of Fish
The largest dating site has over 90 million users
5/18 Ashley Madison
Ashley Madison "offers services to married folks looking for something on the side". It already has over a million members, as chief executive Noel Biderman said that British adults were most likely to have an affair than in other comparable countries
6/18 Sea Captain Date
Sea Captain Date website claims to be the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean
Those on a more serious quest for love tend to choose the UK’s largest dating site for professionals such as E-Harmony, which has a huge list of compatibility criteria on which it pairs its users
8/18 Feet Dating
The cybersphere also boasts a plethora of dating sites for those who want to tailor their sexual fetishes like Feet Dating ("to please everyone who has a foot fetish")
9/18 Guardian Soulmates
"Soulmates community features thousands of smart, modern, independent people who are worth getting to know"
10/18 Singles with Food Allergies
The founder claims that dating can be a nightmare for those who suffer severe reactions, since popular venue choices so often include food and drink
11/18 Herpes Dating Service
"Living with HSV is something that initially may take some psychological adjustment for some patients. It does not mean the end of your sex life or that you will need to remain unmarried for the rest of your life."
Probably one of the most popular choices for tech-dating newbies
13/18 Miss Travel
Miss Travel website asks users to select from two options "attractive" and "generous", and pairs wealthy globe-trotters with hot companions
14/18 Pensioner Dating
Pensioner Dating offers a forum for "older people who want to meet new friends and companions"
Singleparents.ie is "Ireland’s number one dating site for single moms and dads"
16/18 S&M Dating
S&M Dating describes itself as a site for "beginners to the S&M and BDSM devotee"
17/18 Sugar Daddie
On the site, it says: "Sugardaddie.com is a high quality dating site for successful men who have financial security and confidence and attractive single women."
18/18 Uniform Dating
With more than 135,000 active users, Uniform Dating says each of their users receives an average of 22 winks and flirts each month
However, dark web users who tried to download the folder claiming to be Mr Biderman's email archive were met with an error message informing them the file was corrupt and could not be opened - a message seen and then widely reported on social media.
The rest of the data in the latest leak is said to be source code for the website, detailing how Ashley Madison is built, and the security around it.
Dave Kennedy, head of cyber security firm TrustedSec wrote on his site’s blog that if the post is genuine it could mean further issues for ALM and Ashley Madison.
He said: “If this turns out to be legitimate, which it in all aspects appears to be, having full source code to these websites means that other hacker groups now have the ability to find new flaws in Avid Life’s websites, and further compromise them more.
“If there was any question to the validity of the data before - those should be removed now.”Reuse content