Life’s short.  Have an affair?

This hasn’t been a good week. Mainly because I’ve developed some sort of illness that has really slowed me down. It’s gone from having a sore throat to fits of uncontrollable sneezing!

For some other people their week may have been bad because of the leak of personal information and data by a group of hackers from the web site Ashley Madison which apparently offers “married dating and discreet encounters”.

Some news site have been saying that there will be a rush of people heading for divorce lawyers. One veteran (or perhaps inveterate) Brisbane family law lawyer has made comments that he’s waiting for the “avalanche” of work new work given that in Brisbane alone there are apparently something 118,000 registered users of the site. Nothing like a good media beat up at times!

There might be a rush of people heading for divorce lawyers in America since they still have a fault based divorce system where adultery is one of the many grounds needed to obtain a divorce order. However, Australia has had a “no fault” divorce system since 1975. This means that the conduct of of the parties to a marriage is not taken into consideration when seeking a divorce.

The only ground for obtaining a divorce order under the Family Law Act is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage evidenced by separation for a period not not less than 12 months and 1 day. Gone are the days of having to prove such things like adultery, cruelty, desertion, or the failure to render conjugal rights. There’s no need to have private investigators sneaking around at all hours to try and take photos of people in flagrante delicto or you know…at it.

Whilst some commentators have noted that it’s “not illegal to cheat” on your partner, they don’t seem to think of the other consequences that might arise from this behaviour. I don’t want to get all preachy here but under the Family Law Act legal practitioners have an obligation to provide advice to parties about the types of services that are available to assist in keeping a marriage together. This includes counselling services and relationship courses that can assist with communication in a marriage.

It’s not for me to pass judgment on clients and what they have done in their relationships. Sometimes I have seen clients who have told me that their partner has had an affair and this is an issue for them. This is mainly because they feel aggrieved by such a major breach of trust. This can be hard for some people to get over. However, there are some people who can, with the assistance of professional advisors, learn to rebuild their relationships.

Life is short. Spend time with those you care about. If you sense a problem, do something about it and try and communicate with your partner that there is an issue. Go and get some counselling and try and work on maintaining your relationship.

Here endeth the lesson.

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