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Can I Sue My Ex or His Girlfriend in Texas For Ruining Our Marriage?

Posted on in Family Law

fredericksburg-tx-divorce-attorney.jpgMany a Texas divorce has been triggered by the sudden, shocking revelation that one spouse is having an affair. For the spouse who is victimized by this behavior, finding out that your life partner has been so dishonest can be heartbreaking. If you are in this situation, you may understandably feel angry and betrayed. Your anger may be directed at your spouse, but it may also be equally directed at the person who helped your spouse blow up your marriage. In addition to your spouse’s lover, this could be friends, family members, and even a therapist of your spouse’s who encouraged a divorce or worked to hide the infidelity from you. 

Not so long ago, adultery was illegal in many states and spouses whose partners cheated on them could, at least theoretically, hope that their partner would suffer consequences for their behavior. But adultery is not illegal in Texas and Texas also has legislation specifically abolishing the right to bring an “alienation of affection” lawsuit, in which someone responsible for destroying a couple’s marriage could be sued. So if you cannot do that, is there anything you can do to pursue justice against a spouse who ruined your marriage? 

What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress? 

The Texas Supreme Court decided a highly influential case in 1993 that made it possible for spouses to sue each other for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court gave specific guidelines that a spouse must meet to be successful in such a lawsuit. Unfortunately, most common acts of infidelity do not meet the necessary standards of conduct, as a spouse must show that their partner did the following: 

  • Acted intentionally or recklessly

  • Behaved in ways that a normal person would find “extreme and outrageous”

  • Caused emotional distress to the plaintiff, which was severe and this distress produced actual damages 

While the terms “extreme and outrageous” may be subject to interpretation, the conduct that meets this standard must be so severe that the victimized spouse suffers physical consequences from the emotional harm. Physical violence and sick psychological abuse may be sufficiently extreme, as might death threats or ongoing and severe harassment. Inability to work, sleep, or function normally, and the loss of income or quality of life these symptoms may cause, could be sufficient damages. Anger, depression, and humiliation are not generally sufficient. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Fredericksburg, TX Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be exceedingly painful and the legal burden of the divorce process may feel overwhelming. Allow the Fredericksburg, TX divorce attorneys with Law Office of Russ Alan Baker, PLLC to help you manage the logistical aspects of divorce so you can focus on healing and recovering from the shock of your spouse’s infidelity. Call us today at 325-216-2006 to schedule a consultation and start your divorce on the right foot. 


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