Internet gaming is growing in prevalence as a major issue leading to divorce. In fact, addiction to online video games such as Fortnite, was cited along with other online games, as a contributing factor in 200 of the 4,665 (5%) of the divorce petitions filed since January 1, 2018 according to the website www.divorce-online.co.uk.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, (DSM-5) lists Internet Gaming Disorder as a “Condition for Further Study,” Internet Gaming Disorder. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth Edition, pg. 795. Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013. In fact, the DSM-5 proposes some of the following criteria for the diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder, “Persistent and recurrent use of the internet to engage in games….leading to clinically significant impairment” including criterion such as: (i) preoccupation with internet games; (ii) a need to spend increasing amounts of time engaged in internet gaming; (iii) internet gaming has jeopardized a relationship, job or educational opportunity; and (iv) even withdrawal symptoms when internet gaming is taken away. Id.
Currently, Internet Gaming Disorder is not a diagnosis under the DSM-5. However, if Internet Gaming Disorder is formally designated as a diagnosis in the sixth edition of the DSM, this could also impact child custody disputes where such a diagnosis is made of either parent or even a child. Even if Internet Gaming Addiction is not formally recognized as a diagnosis in the next edition of the DSM, I surmise that a family court judge would be quite troubled by a parent who spends so much time playing internet games that he or she suffers withdrawal symptoms.
Moreover, if you or someone you know is seeking a divorce due to a spouse’s addiction to internet gaming and needs an attorney who has the expertise and knowledge to effectively obtain the best possible outcome, then call the skilled lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at 908-575-9777 or submit an online inquiry form. With an office in Somerville, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains and throughout the state.
Written by: Mark Gabriel, Esq.