“Game Over”

//“Game Over”

“Game Over”

“Game Over” by Deborah E. KaminetzkyHitting the news lately is the fact that there is a new growing cause of divorce, gaming addiction, at least in the UK. The video game Fortnite was listed in 200 divorces so far in 2018 as being partly to blame for the demise of the marriage. While we in New York have “irretrievable breakdown” as grounds, what exactly causes the breakdown is not usually something we discuss in mediation or negotiated divorces.

While attorneys and mediators normally include questions on our intake forms regarding alcohol, drug use and gambling issues, gaming addiction is a new problem that those in the divorce professions are now seeing — sometimes for the first time. While we may not think to ask about whether or not gaming addiction is an issue, sometimes it is apparent from day one when a client clearly has a limited attention span to the point where they are paying more attention to their smartphone than the discussion. Much like it is difficult, if not impossible, to mediate when one party has a drug or alcohol addiction, gaming addiction also impedes the person from being able to fully participate in the process. Just like with a chemical addiction, it may be impossible for a gaming addict to reach an agreement with their spouse as they may be agreeing in the moment just so that they can leave the room and get back to their game.

According to several recent articles on the subject many people who already are dissatisfied with their life turn to gaming as a way to cope, or avoid dealing with their problems entirely. Many of the games online involve playing against other players who are real people also signed into the game. Gamers not dealing with their relationship and spending most of their time, sometimes to the exclusion of sleep and other activities, is bound to result in a less than stellar relationship with their real life spouse. The spouse may resent the gamer’s time spent in the game in the same way as a spouse who is having an affair. Gaming addiction can also lead to money issues as sometimes the gamer purchases items in the game to help them succeed or they may start slacking off at work to play. There have also been reports of people meeting other gamers in the game that they then meet up with in real life.

The real question is which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was the person dissatisfied and would rather spend time playing their game, or did the game make them realize that they were not happy in the marriage? Either way, when it’s game over, it’s time to deal with the reality of ending the marriage.

Deborah E. Kaminetzky


Deborah E. Kaminetzky, Esq.
Kaminetzky Law & Mediation, P.C.
132 Spruce Street
Cedarhurst, New York 11516
Phone: 516.374.0074

By | 2019-05-14T20:43:15+00:00 September 20th, 2018|Divorce Law|Comments Off on “Game Over”

About the Author:

Deborah E. Kaminetzky
Deborah E. Kaminetzky is the founder of Kaminetzky Law & Mediation, P.C. located in Long Beach, New York. Prior to starting the firm Deborah worked at a Long Island firm where she learned the practice of Matrimonial and Family law and Estate Planning. Deborah has also worked at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs where she was responsible for prosecuting unlicensed home improvement contractors and negotiating settlements for consumers. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Kaminetzky was the president of a commercial property management corporation in the New York Metro area. Ms. Kaminetzky is a member of the National Association of Divorce Professionals, New York State Council on Divorce Mediation, Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, New York State Bar Association (Business Law, Estate, Family Law, ADR and General Practice Sections), Nassau County Bar Association (where she serves as Chair of the General, Solo and Practice Management Committee and The Nassau County Women’s Bar Association. Ms. Kaminetzky was appointed to the Committee on Law Practice Management of the New York State Bar Association in 2015 and has been a frequent speaker and author of articles for their journal. Ms. Kaminetzky serves on the Board of Directors of the Yashar Attorney and Judges Chapter of Hadassah as a their Treasurer, and was their Woman of the Year 2012 and Leadership award honoree in 2019. Deborah graduated from New York Law School in 1991 and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1986. Ms. Kaminetzky was admitted to the First Department in 1991 and the United States Supreme Court Bar in February of 2015. Deborah is on the Matrimonial fee dispute arbitration panel for Nassau County. She expanded her alternative dispute resolution practice by completing a Mediation certificate program in December of 2013, an advanced Mediation certificate program in 2015 and most recently a Divorce Mediation certificate in early 2016 from The New York Peace Institute. Ms. Kaminetzky has spoken to various groups on topics including matrimonial law, technology and social media use, and disaster preparedness for business including cybersecurity.