In Wake of Ashley Madison Hack, Veteran Matrimonial Lawyer Theresa Lyons Tells How to Respond to Cheating

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37 Million Philanderers May Be Exposed by Website Intrusion, but What is the Non-Cheating Spouse Supposed to Do?

Theresa A. Lyons of Lyons & Associates

Theresa A. Lyons of Lyons & Associates

Being blindsided and finding out that your spouse has had an affair is bad enough. To get blindsided during the divorce process would be a double whammy.

“Cheaters never win.” But how about the non-cheating spouse? What can he or she do in response to protect personal and marital interests?

This week, Ashley Madison, a website devoted to helping 37 million subscribers engage in secret extra-marital affairs, was hacked, and with that hack comes the risk of public unmasking for many philanderers. But if you are the innocent spouse, the non-cheater, what can you do to protect your personal interests? Here are four key tips from veteran matrimonial lawyer and social worker Theresa A. Lyons, Esq.:    

1.    Determine the Level of Cheating – Some people may be more able to forgive their spouse for a single drunken “one night stand” as opposed to a long-term relationship that exists over months or years, or multiple “one night stands” that happen with many different people. It is also important to know the level of your spouse’s infidelity because that can give insight into whether and what types of physical risks (STDs and the like) the innocent spouse might face or need treatment for.

2.     Assess Whether Your Marriage Can Be Saved – Up to 80 percent of all marriage counseling fails, not because people don’t want to save their marriages, but because people have unrealistic expectations when participating in marriage therapy. After cheating, the question is not whether your marriage will be the same – it will never be the same. Instead, the question is whether a new marriage can be forged in which both parties can enjoy enough satisfaction to keep the marriage going.

3.    Shield Your Children from the Conflict – Studies show that the number one factor that determines whether children grow into happy healthy adults is whether their parents can effectively co-parent, even in the face of marital strife. It is not your children’s fault that one spouse has decided to stray. Kids need and deserve stability. And while it usually is not a good idea to lie to your children (especially older children who can more easily ferret out the truth), it usually is a good idea to keep children as protected as possible from parental conflict.

4.    Have a Solid Plan B – Just in case your marriage can’t be saved, it is important that you get your ducks in a row regarding finances, children, support systems, and personal property. Being blindsided and finding out that your spouse has had an affair is bad enough. To get blindsided during the divorce process would be a double whammy.

Theresa A. Lyons isn’t just a specialist in Family Law. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University. A certified matrimonial attorney, she has clerked for the Supreme Court of New Jersey and is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court. She is managing partner at Lyons & Associates in Somerville. Lyons is also author of the bestselling book, Sticks and Stones: Life Lessons From a Lawyer, which is available at Amazon.com. For more information about Lyons & Associates, P.C., and its family law practice, go to http://www.lyonspc.com. To request an interview with Theresa Lyons, Esq. on this or other family law issues, contact Gary Frisch at Swordfish Communications, gfrisch@swordfishcomm.com or 856-767-7772.

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