A recent survey by an online divorce provider has revealed that the popular video game Fortnite is being cited as a reason for a significant number of marriages breaking down in the UK. The survey found that 200 divorces had been filed this year on the basis of one spouse being addicted to playing online games, including Fortnite. This accounted for 5% of the total divorces that they processed.
The video game, which can now be played on smartphones as well as on games consoles, is a survivalist game which has proven to be quite addictive for some players. This is causing tensions between some spouses which, in a number of cases, are proving insurmountable.
Addiction and Divorce
Citing addiction as the reason for a relationship breakdown is nothing new, with addictions to gambling, drugs, alcohol and other vices commonly causing marriages to break down. More unusual addictions that have been cited during divorce proceedings include football, cycling and even cleaning. Now online gaming has entered into the mix.
In order to be granted a divorce by the Court in England or Wales, it must be proven that the marriage has broken down to a point where it cannot be saved. The reason for this marriage breakdown must be cited as one of the 5 facts for divorce.
According to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics, the most commonly used reason for divorce is unreasonable behaviour. Unreasonable behaviour is a broad term which can encompass many elements of one person's behaviour. Details and examples of the person's unreasonable behaviour will need to be evidenced to the Court and it will need to be clear how this behaviour has directly led to the breakdown of the relationship. Addiction falls into this category.
The Rise of Digital Addiction
Since the dawn of the digital age, the internet has become more and more accessible to people anywhere and anytime. As a result experts have warned that online addiction is on the rise.
For most, these technological developments are a positive step. The problem lies, however, where internet use gets out of hand with some unable to tear themselves away from their screens. Online addictions can include online gaming, gambling, pornography, social media and internet forums along with a host of others.
The reason for this increase in online addiction could be the change in the digital landscape. The internet is now so easily accessible, with most people able to access games and other apps from their smartphones. The Office of National Statistics has reported that 90% of homes now have internet – an increase of 33% since 2006. Furthermore, 73% of people in the UK access the internet on the go – a figure which has more than doubled since 2011. Almost all of those aged 16-34 are regular internet users, with the older generation less interested in getting online.
At Co-op Legal Services, we have noticed a significant recent increase in the number of people stating that they want to divorce their spouse because of a computer or internet addiction. If you are going through a divorce and want to talk through your options with an experienced Divorce Solicitor, call us for free initial divorce advice on 03300 372 672.