Can You Sue Your Ex for Defamation During Your Divorce?

Can You Sue Your Ex for Defamation During Your Divorce?

2022-08-10 Off By Nathan levi

When a couple is divorcing, emotions are high, and it’s usual for each party to say or do something that will harm the other. Usually, after the divorce has been completed, these hurtful and spiteful remarks are stated carelessly and ignored. Many people think that you can’t sue your ex-spouse for slander during your divorce or legal separation. This is not true. Unless your state has passed a law declaring that such claims are barred as a matter of public policy then you can sue your ex for defamation of character, libel, and slander.

Definition of Defamation

False statements of fact that hurt someone’s reputation or cause other damages for which they may file a lawsuit are considered defamation. As a result, given the intense hostility and tension between spouses, it is not unexpected that divorce can serve as the starting point for a defamation action. It’s crucial to be aware that defamation can occur verbally or in writing; these actions are referred to as slander and libel accordingly.

How Can Defamation Be Found in a Divorce?

You must prove the following four things to support your defamation suit after consulting with a family law attorney Peoria and deciding that legal action is required:

  1. A fabrication was presented as true.
  2. The claim was published or conveyed to a third person, which means someone saw or overheard the misleading claim.
  3. The assertion was spoken, written, illustrated, or motioned.
  4. The defendant showed negligence-level fault in their performance.
  5. The plaintiff experienced losses or was harmed in some way.

Defamation: Privileges & Defenses

Defamation claims are subject to several protections and defenses. If employed effectively, the following factors can result in a claim being completely rejected:

  1. Reason: If the allegedly “defamatory” comments are truthful, the defamation action may be rejected.
  2. Complete privilege: When delivering remarks in the course of legal processes, witnesses enjoy absolute privilege.
  3. Qualified privilege: This enables someone to make a claim that would ordinarily be viewed as libelous in circumstances like legislative proceedings.

Typical Defamation in Divorce Examples

A couple may have a case for defamation if the misleading remarks were made as facts rather than ideas and hurt the defendant as a result. See a few instances below:

  1. Your partner makes up accusations of child abuse against you on social media
  2. You inform your spouse’s supervisor that they conduct tax fraud and other fraud in an effort to stop them from earning a promotion.
  3. Your spouse made a false statement on Facebook claiming that your adultery led to the divorce.
  4. You misrepresent your spouse’s domestic abuse in your blog.

Potential Losses in Defamation Cases

Due to the subjectivity of defamatory comments, losses in defamation cases can be difficult to establish, but in the event of a successful lawsuit, the plaintiff may be granted economic or non-economic penalties.

Economic damages are the genuine losses brought on by a defamation claim, including lost earnings, reduced future earning potential, related costs, and missed business possibilities. Non-economic damages, in contrast, include non-financial losses like pain and suffering, discomfort emotionally, loss of companionship, and loss of life’s enjoyment.

Closing Thoughts

In short, you may be able to sue your ex for defamation during the divorce process. Divorce is a tumultuous and difficult time in anyone’s life. Couples are thrust into a situation where they need to navigate the financial, legal, and emotional issues made more complex by their lust for vengeance.