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Pornography and divorce

I have recently had several clients who have consulted me for a divorce, sighting the reason for the breakdown in the marriage as being their spouse using internet chat rooms behind their back.

It was just yesterday that a lady consulted me for a divorce. She was actually going through a second divorce, and we discussed the reasons for the breakdown of her first marriage. She told me that her first husband was addicted to pornography on his computer. The situation with his addiction had even got so bad that he had been dismissed from his place of employment when they discovered all the pornography on his computer, and how often he had been on those sites.

In another situation a lady contacted me and also told me that her husband had permanently been on sexual chat sites. He furthermore had downloaded onto his computer various pornographic pictures, and had enlarged them. He had apparently been spending all of his time in the bathroom of their house looking at the pictures. There was absolutely no communication between the parties in this case, and the husband had sexually withdrawn himself from his wife. This was a particularly sad case because there was a young baby involved, and the father had emotionally neglected the child as a result of the addiction.

I also recently had a case where a man consulted me and advised me that his wife had been engaging in conversations on “Mxit”. She had been spending all of her time on “Mxit” chatting to one man in particular. She even went as far as meeting this man, and my client believes that there had been unduly intimate sexual relations between the two of them. When I discussed the “Mxit” allegation recently with my client’s wife’s attorney, she no doubt said that the reason for her client being on “Mxit” was due to my client having had an affair himself. There are no doubt always two sides to every story.

The thing about the use of internet chat rooms or pornography within a relationship is that if it is not done with the consent of your spouse, then it has to be seen as unfaithfulness to a certain degree, specifically if the conversations which you are having in the chat rooms are of a sexual nature. I very often sight the use of these chat rooms as a reason for the breakdown in a marriage when I draft the divorce summons. More and more partners are catching their spouses out by looking at their computer history, or checking their cellular telephones.

When one spouse has direct physical sexual relations with a third party in a divorce, this is no doubt the most serious of reasons for the breakdown in a marriage. But one cannot ignore this “adultery” of another type in the internet chat rooms.

article written by Cape Town divorce law specialist, Peter M Baker

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