This Article Can I Sue My Ex for Emotional Distress During a Divorce is written by Naphtal
The marriage institution is held in high esteem by most people. It is beautiful to experience another person’s love and companionship for the rest of your life. However, like any other relationship, marriages have their own challenges.
One such challenge is divorce. While some couples can amicably go their separate ways, others often find the process to be emotionally distressing.
If you are going through a divorce and feel like your ex is to blame for the emotional pain you are experiencing, you may be wondering if you can sue them for damages.
We are here to help you understand your options and guide you through this difficult time.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress can be defined as mental anguish or suffering resulting from another person’s actions.
It is important to note that emotional distress is different from physical pain. While emotional distress may not always be accompanied by visible symptoms, it can still have a significant impact on your life.
Some common symptoms of emotional distress include anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, loss of appetite, irritability, weight loss or gain, and social withdrawal.
These are just some of the ways that emotional distress can manifest. If you are going through a divorce and experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional help.
Can I Sue My Ex-Spouse for Emotional Distress?
The answer to this question depends on the specifics of your situation. To sue your ex for emotional distress, you will need to prove that their actions were the direct cause of your mental anguish.
This can be difficult to do, as emotional distress is often subjective. You will need evidence to support your claim, such as medical records or testimony from witnesses.
It is also important to note that for you to sue your ex, their actions must have been intentional or negligent. This means they either meant to cause you emotional distress or knew that their actions could reasonably result in emotional distress but proceeded anyway.
For example, your ex was having an affair and lied to you about it for months. This would be considered intentional emotional distress. On the other hand, if your ex was going through a tough time and neglected to communicate with you. This would be regarded as negligent emotional distress.
Proving intentional or negligent emotional distress can be difficult. So it is essential to consult with an experienced family attorney before filing a lawsuit.
What Damages Can I Recover in an Emotional Distress Lawsuit?
If you are successful in suing your ex for emotional distress, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are meant to reimburse you for the financial costs incurred due to your emotional distress. Such as medical bills or therapy costs.
The judge may also award punitive damages in an emotional distress lawsuit. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the guilty party.
Punitive damages can be awarded in cases of intentional or reckless emotional distress. They are often much higher than compensatory damages, as they are not meant to reimburse the victim but to punish the guilty party.
If you are willing to sue your ex-spouse for emotional distress, it is essential to speak with an experienced attorney. They can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process.
What Is Extreme and Outrageous Conduct?
To be successful in an emotional distress lawsuit, you will need to prove that your ex’s actions were extreme. This means that their behaviour must have gone beyond what is considered socially acceptable.
Their actions must also have been intended to cause you emotional distress.
Or they must have known that their actions could reasonably result in emotional distress but proceeded anyway.
Some examples of extreme and outrageous conduct include:
- Making threats of violence
- Engaging in physical violence
- Destroying your property
- Repeatedly calling you or showing up at your home uninvited.
- Harassing you at work
- Sending you unwanted gifts or letters
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the type of behaviour that could be considered extreme and outrageous.
If you are considering suing your ex for emotional distress, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. They can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process.
What Are the Defenses of an Emotional Distress Claim?
Your ex could raise a few defences in an emotional distress lawsuit. These include:
First, they could claim that their actions were not extreme and outrageous. This defense will likely only be successful if the court finds that a reasonable person would not consider the actions extreme and outrageous.
Second, they could claim that you did not suffer any actual emotional distress. This defense will likely only be successful if you do not have any medical records or testimony from witnesses to support your claims of emotional distress.
Third, they could claim that they were not the cause of your emotional distress. This defense will likely only be successful if you cannot prove that their actions were the direct cause of your emotional distress.
They can also claim that you cannot recover damages because you did not suffer any financial losses as a result of your emotional distress. This defense will likely only be successful if you do not have any medical bills or other documentation to support your claims of financial losses.
Divorce is never easy; it can be even more complicated when your ex causes you emotional distress. If you feel like your former spouse has gone too far, you may be able to sue for damages in a civil court.
Remember that specific conditions must be met to file a successful emotional distress lawsuit, and your case will likely hinge on whether or not the judge finds your ex’s behaviour to be extreme and outrageous.
Speak with an experienced family law attorney to find out if you have a valid claim and learn about your legal options.