Events that lead to divorce can be terrible – cheating, lying, etc…but what happens when those reasons enter into the legal territory of marital torts? And what are marital torts?
Marital torts are essentially “marital wrongs” inflicted by one spouse on the other. Examples of marital torts include: infecting a spouse with a sexually transmitted disease, physical assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, marital rape, invasion of privacy, and wiretapping. When one of these grounds is believed to exist in the relationship, the victimized spouse is able to file a marital tort claim. In some cases, such as sexual violence and domestic assault and battery, criminal charges can be pressed at the same time.
Compensation for Wrongs Done
The courts explain that marital tort exists to “redress the violation of important norms, compensate victims and discourage unsafe behavior.” What this translates to is, if a tort is proven, then the spouse at fault will need to pay for the wrongs done.
Being about to sue your spouse is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. Previously, spouses were not able to do so because of a concept known as inter-spousal immunity. Essentially, this took the view that wives were “property” of their husbands. This concept was deemed outdated in 1961 by the New Jersey courts.
Filing a Marital Tort Claim
You’ll want to consult an attorney if you think you have grounds for filing a marital tort claim. An attorney will be able to dress your specific state’s marital tort laws. Filing a tort claim can be a powerful tool to ensure justice is done.
Source: The Huffington Post, Beyond Divorce: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Spouses Sue Each Other, January 6, 2015
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