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Can You Sue Someone For Destroying Your Marriage?

Can You Sue Someone For Destroying Your Marriage?

A happy marriage can turn sour quickly when a third-party gets involved. If someone else plays a major role in the disruption of your marriage, such as by having an affair with your spouse, the natural urge could be to seek redress for the damage they have inflicted. However, most states, including Virginia, do not allow lawsuits against third-parties for any role they play in leading to the downfall of a happy marriage.

Only seven states have laws that allow someone to sue a third-party who has played a significant part in the breakup of a marriage. Typically, a deserted spouse employs one of these laws to sue the lover of their former spouse to earn compensation for the role the lover played in a divorce. However, some of the laws allow someone to sue just about anyone who might have played a large role in their spouse’s loss of affection for them. This includes people such as in-laws or therapists.

There are two types of laws that enable these suits. One is called criminal conversation laws. These laws are specifically aimed at adultery cases involving one spouse having sex with a lover during a marriage. To be successful, a plaintiff must present evidence that sexual intercourse actually occurred and played a crucial role in breaking up the marriage.

The other type of law available in some states is known as an alienation of affection law. In order to file a successful suit under this law, someone must demonstrate that they were in a happy, affectionate marriage and that the wrongful and malicious actions of the third-party played a critical role in an alienation from one spouse toward the abandoned spouse.

The seven states that allow lawsuits of this kind are Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota and Utah. Because you do not have the option of pursuing compensation from a third-party in Virginia in these instances, your options are more limited. Instead of directing your attention at the third-party, your only recourse will be to integrate their involvement in your divorce case.

Adultery can serve as the basis for divorce in Virginia, and it can play a factor in the determination of alimony, though it depends on the circumstances. In order to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery in Virginia, one must present clear and convincing evidence that it occurred. If you are able to prove it, adultery qualifies as a fault-based basis for divorce in the state and it does not require a waiting period. If you are able to prove adultery in Virginia, you also often will be able to prevent your spouse from receiving any spousal support from you.

Navigating these cases can be difficult, both emotionally and strategically. An attorney experienced in divorce cases can help you sort through the challenges and find the approach that best fits your personal circumstances.

For more information on Family Law & Divorce visit www.manassasdivorceattorney.com

 

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