Sex, Lies, and Divorce

Here’s a nightmare scenario. Imagine divorcing from a spouse and then being diagnosed as HIV positive. Such a scenario would be a nightmare because of both the disease and the fact that it was transmitted by someone you loved and someone with whom you might have believed yourself to be in a monogamous relationship. Fortunately, should this kind of event occur, there is something you can do about it? Legally, you can seek restitution against your partner by filing a claim known as a domestic tort.

Domestic, or interspousal torts, are claims for damages that arise when those who have been in a relationship experience a betrayal. Not every betrayal, however, has to be as serious as being transmitted a serious disease. Other examples that might warrant a domestic tort include physical, emotional, and psychological abuse or fraud or theft of property. Whatever the case may be, those who file domestic torts will attempt to have a judge order their former spouse to pay damages. These damages might include medical treatment in the example of a sexually transmitted disease like HIV. More broadly, the damages could be anything that allowed a spouse to be compensated for any losses stemming from the betrayal by their partner.

An additional scenario that domestic torts would also be useful in resolving is an invasion of privacy. If, for example, a divorcee felt that a spouse was following them, they could use domestic torts as a means to seek damages. One can also seek Domestic Violence restraining orders in that context. In the case of an invasion of privacy (or another domestic tort), the divorcee filing the tort might claim that the invasion of privacy caused them to suffer panic attacks or other symptoms of stress. Whether a judge chose to award damages in this instance would be entirely up to them. At the very least, though, domestic torts do offer some means of relief from the scenarios that can entangle spouses, long after they have divorced.

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