Divorcing Because of Your Spouse’s Internet Pornography Addiction?
Statistics show addiction to Internet pornography is seen as a cause of Tennessee divorce more and more.
While the internet has greatly contributed to greater access to knowledge and information, as with all good things, there is as downside as well. Internet addiction, pornography addiction in particular, has become a growing problem which can often lead to divorce. If you are considering divorce because your spouse has an internet porn addiction, you should consult with an experienced Tennessee family law lawyer to get counsel regarding the laws relating to divorce and how to proceed with your case.
An Increasing Problem
Although you may be feeling ashamed and hurt by your spouse’s internet pornography addiction, you should know that the problem is quite common. According to the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion, pornography is a “quiet family killer”, possibly contributing to adultery and playing a role in 56 percent of divorces. This confirms the observations of most divorce attorneys. Two-thirds of divorce lawyers at the 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers noted that online porn addiction had increasingly become a factor in more than half of the divorce cases they handled.
Internet Pornography Addiction Statistics
This should not come as a surprise considering the staggering statistics related to online pornography. There are 4.2 million porn websites which account for 12 percent of all website visits and 25 percent of all search engine requests. Every day there are 2.5 billion pornographic emails sent or received, amounting to 8 percent of all emails. Forty-two percent of internet users admitted to viewing online pornography, and forty million U.S. adults admitted to regularly visiting pornography websites, with 10 percent acknowledging that they have an internet sexual addiction. Furthermore, it is not just the men who are viewing online pornography, since 1 in 3 pornographic website visitors is female.
But is the problem pornography itself, or is it the addiction to it? This is not an easy question to answer, for it is a matter of personal values and beliefs. However, any addictive behavior can create relationship problems. Although time spent online can sometimes be productive, compulsive internet use can detrimentally affect a person’s life. Destructive online behavior which can lead to divorce can take the form of an online sex addiction which involves the compulsive use of internet pornography and/or adult chat rooms which negatively impact real life intimate relationships. When you spend more time online than you spend with your spouse, inevitably it is going to take a toll on the relationship, eroding the trust and intimacy over time.
Internet Pornography and Tennessee Divorce
Many married people are disgusted by their spouse’s obsession with pornography and may even consider it a form of adultery, which eventually prompts them to seek a divorce. But how does an internet pornography addiction affect a divorce case? While your decision to divorce may be justified, if you are seeking a no-fault divorce, your spouse’s pornography addiction will not likely have any legal impact on property distribution or alimony awards in your case.
However, one type of claim in child custody cases, involves the allegation that one parent routinely engages in improper or compulsive sexual behavior on the internet. The improper and compulsive sexual behavior may be sexually explicit chats with other adults or compulsive viewing of adult pornography. In a few extreme cases, the improper behavior may involve viewing child pornography, in which case the parent may face actual criminal charges.
Nevertheless, even if illegal viewing of child pornography is not at issue, if the allegation of internet porn addiction is proven to be true, a parenting evaluation may be requested to determine whether or not the problematic behavior of the parent negatively impacts his or her parenting ability or the safety of the child or children involved in the custody case.
A comprehensive parenting assessment can be conducted through interviews with the children and parents, review of self-report questionnaires completed by the parents, and review of any relevant collateral information. The following considerations should be addressed:
- Is there a documented history of emotional or physical neglect of the child/children due to the parent’s preoccupation with internet pornography?
- Does the parent invest so much time, effort, and energy into their internet sexual addiction that his or her relationship with the child/children is or has been impaired?
- Have the children been exposed to non-sexual high risk situations through inattention due to the parent’s internet pornography addiction?
- Has the parent exposed the child/children to sexual material or situations?
- Has the parent taken any security precautions to prevent exposure of the child/children to sexual materials?
- Has the parent made or is willing to make any behavioral changes?
Regardless of the reasons for the break-down of a marriage, a divorce is always an emotional and difficult experience to endure. You will need support to help you through this trying time, so reach out to friends and family. Because there is so much shame surrounding internet porn addiction, you may wish to confide in a licensed counselor who is knowledgeable and experienced in this type of problem. Take solace in knowing that your spouse’s internet sex addiction is not your fault, and that you are not alone.
Finally, as is case with any legal issue, you will also need the assistance of an experienced and competent lawyer to advise you on the law and guide you through the legal process in order to protect your rights.
For more information, see:
- Internet Pornography, Sex Addiction & Marriage: Cause for Divorce
- Colorado Family Law and Pornography Addiction from Rich Harris.