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Online gamers run risk of Divorce?

With the increase in availability of high-speed internet to our homes, came the rise in popularity of online gaming. Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation announced that “gaming disorder” would be recognised as a mental health condition.

The latest game to hit the headlines, Fortnite, has become a global phenomenon, with a reported 125 million players across all platforms. But what impact does online gaming have on marriages? And does it really result in divorce? One divorce website’s number crunching, revealed that it had received 200 divorce petitions between January and September this year which cited addiction to online games, including Fortnite, as one of the reasons for divorce.


Why could online gaming be causing divorce? 

Further research is needed into why online gaming could be resulting in the breakdown of relationships. However, one possible theory, is that online games act as a medium for people with similar interests to “meet” each other in the virtual world and chat together, without the normal social constraints that come with talking to someone in the real world. It may, for example, be much easier to open up to someone whom you have never met and may be hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away, than someone in your family or friendship group.


For some, the next step could be to meet in person. This relationship could, in the end, result in divorce for one, or both, parties.

online gaming and divorce


In addition to this, online gaming at an excessive level could indicate an addiction. This addiction could result in the gamer spending less and less time with their spouse, with the relationship suffering as a consequence. Moreover, if someone is suffering from a gaming addiction, they may be thinking about gaming even when they are not playing. This could lead to them being withdrawn and maybe even moody or irritable towards their spouse.


Can online gaming be seen as unreasonable behaviour?

In order to get a divorce in England and Wales, it’s necessary to prove that a marriage has irretrievably broken down, giving one or more of five reasons:

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Separation for more than 2 years (with consent)
  • Separation for 5 or more years (no consent necessary)


Unreasonable behaviour is the most common ground for divorce in England and Wales. The petitioner (the person filing for the divorce petition) has to give at least one example of the unreasonable behaviour, if they want to rely on this ground.


There is no set list of what constitutes unreasonable behaviour. What one person may deem as unreasonable behaviour (like their spouse being out fishing all day, every day), another may not (the spouse may be happier that their other half is out from under their feet).


Whether online gaming would be seen as unreasonable behaviour by a judge, really depends on the individual circumstances of each divorce.


An experienced solicitor should be able to advise you on your particular circumstances.


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert divorce solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email


Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details.

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08th November 2018

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