Marital affairs and the online dating site accused of breaking the law

Amanda Crowe Cropped

There can be a multitude of reasons why someone decides to commit adultery and cheat on their spouse. For some marital affairs are a one-time thing and for others a new relationship can develop before they have a chance to formally end the old one. Now there is a legal argument occurring in France over an online dating website specifically targeting married women.

Gleeden, whose website has 2.3 million members in Europe, has adverts displayed on buses and metros in France showing an attractive young woman in a bridal dress with her fingers crossed behind her back. Their message  – vows are for suckers.

The Association of Catholic Families (ACF) who have been angered by these adverts and the site itself, have filed a civil case contesting the site’s legality. In France, all law is based on written codes (penal code, labour code, commercial code, etc.) which can be amended by parliament. Judges are free to interpret the codes, but their room for manoeuvre is much more limited compared to the Judges operating under the common law system in the UK.

Article 212 of France’s Civil Code states: “Married partners owe each other the duty of respect, fidelity, help and assistance.” ACF’s argument is that Gleeden’s business is actively encouraging married spouses to violate their civil duty.

It is now up to the Judge to decide whether Gleeden is breaking the law or whether ‘fidelity’ under the Civil Code has an altogether different meaning within the forever changing moral values of a modern society.

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Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.