Can I Sue My Ex Wife for Defamation of Character?

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Can I Sue My Ex Wife for Defamation of Character?

False statements that cause you any kind of harm, be it physical, mental, financial or even harm to your reputation is categorized as a defamatory. Often, the first step of action is to send a “cease and desist” letter to the person making defamatory statements. This letter serves as a warning, telling the individual that legal action will ensue if they continue to make false and injurious statements. If you wish to know more about the laws and steps surrounding a defamation lawsuit, continue reading below.

Unfortunately, more common than not, false claims are made in a court of law or during a divorce. Tensions run high and it isn’t uncommon for either party to make a slanderous claim that is both harmful and hateful. If your ex said or posted something that permanently impacted your reputation during your divorce, you may have grounds for a defamation case.

Understanding Defamation — What Can You Sue For?

Before you sue for defamation, consider how realistic it is to draw out a legal case for defamatory claims, and whether you’d like to sue your ex after a messy divorce. If so, you must also acknowledge that unfortunately, spreading rumors behind someone’s back is not consistent enough to sue for defamation — rather, to meet the criteria of defamation, your ex’s statements must consist of the following:

  1. The statement was false
  2. The statement was expressed as a fact, not an opinion
  3. The statement was made to a third party
  4. You suffered a defamatory impact from the statement
  5. You suffered damages that you can be compensated for (loss of a job, loss of wages)

Things to Consider When Suing Your Ex

You can sue your ex-wife, ex-husband, or anybody who defamed you. Your ex must have made slanderous statements against you, incurring sufferable damages:

  • If they claim that you were physically abusive, for instance, and you can prove that you were not, there may be grounds for a case.
  • Defamation during a divorce is tricky — if you are in court or are speaking under oath, your statements are protected by privilege, meaning that any statements made are immune from courtroom litigation or defamation claims.
  • If you continue to communicate outside of the courtroom, and defamatory claims are made in front of a third party, you may be entitled to a defamation claim.

You’ve Been Sued By Your Ex — Now What?

Turning the tables, if you’ve been accused by your ex of defamation, there are many options at hand. You’ll need to prove the following to win:

  • This is arguably the most common and important defense to defamation — if something someone says is true, you cannot claim that it is defamatory.
You were given consent
  • If a defendant can prove that the plaintiff gave consent to any publication of information or statements, they could use this as a defense to help their case.
You have absolute privilege
  • In some cases, privilege can act as a defense — this alludes to immunity to liability, granted by law in particular circumstances
  • This includes any statements made in the legislative or judicial process, including (ex) spousal statements and statements or publications made by law.
You have conditional privilege
  • Immunity and privilege may also come from the manner or day on which the statements are issued — if a defendant can prove that they are entitled to privilege in a particular case, and a statement is believed to be factual, they might have a good defense against slander or defamation.
  • Conditional privileges also stem from any statements that are made in the public’s best interest and statements that are issued to ensure the well-being of a family member.

Should You Write a Cease and Desist Letter?

  • In sum, suing your ex can be expedited by writing a cease and desist letter.
  • You must outline the damages you’ve incurred, provide evidence, and command your ex to stop spreading slanderous rumors, or to cease contact with you altogether.
  • Unfortunately, many lawyers who are capable of drafting cease and desist letters will charge an exorbitant amount of money for even responding to your inquiries — this is where DoNotPay can help!

Draft a Cease and Desist Letter in Minutes!

DoNotPay is a convenient solution! The cease and desist letter drafts will detail the information about the case, demand retraction, warn against future statements, and will order that the accused abides by state statutes.

All you need to do is:

1. Search “defamation” on and select the Defamation Demand Letters product.

2. Tell us about your situation:

    • Were the statements slander or libel?
    • What were the statements?
    • Why are they false or misleading?
    • What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?

Based on your location, will immediately generate a formal cease and desist letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation. You can deliver this letter to your ex before proceeding with a criminal case!

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