Suing For Emotional Distress Caused By Adultery

Sue Anyone in Small Claims Court Suing For Emotional Distress Caused By Adultery

Suing for Emotional Distress Due to Adultery

It can be emotionally ruinous to discover that your spouse has committed an adulterous act. For some people, it may result in emotional distress that causes depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. The emotional trauma can last for years and some people continue to experience severe insomnia and uncontrollable crying.

Can you sue for emotional distress due to adultery? In some states, the answer is more likely “no” but there are other civil tort claims to file against an unfaithful spouse and the third party. They are as follows:


Claims Description
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) The conduct must be severe and outrageous to intentionally inflict emotional anguish and violate generally accepted social norms.
Criminal Conversation The adulterous spouse engaged in sexual acts with the third-party defendant.
Alienation of Affection The defendant is responsible for the break-up.

In this article, we will deep dive into the three civil tort claims that may be filed against an adulterous spouse. We will also help you to take advantage of an easier and faster way to sue in small claims court without a lawyer using DoNotPay.

Suing for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Some states recognize the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). You may sue your spouse for IIED if his or her adulterous act was so “extreme and outrageous” that it is enough to cause you severe mental anguish. Take note that an ordinary case of adultery will not generally support an IIED claim. However, an adulterous act that shocks the conscience of an average person can qualify for an IIED claim (e.g. you contracted HIV from your spouse’s adulterous act).

To sue for IIED, you  must prove the following legal elements:

  1. The adulterous person has an intention to cause emotional distress by their actions
  2. The adulterous act was extreme and considered unacceptable in a civilized society
  3. The adulterous act caused you emotional distress
  4. The emotional distress was significant

Suing for Criminal Conversation

The third party in a separation or divorce can also be sued for having sexual affairs with a married person who is not technically separated from his or her spouse. This is regardless of whether there was genuine love and affection involved or whether their actions caused the divorce. Practically, most criminal conversation lawsuits are filed together with the alienation of affection claims. This applies in situations where the person separates from their spouse to be with the third-party partner. To file for criminal conversation, you must prove the following:

  • The plaintiff is legally married to the spouse
  • The plaintiff’s spouse and the third party were involved in a sexual affair
  • The sexual affair occurred while the marriage is still valid
  • The adulterous act happened within the state’s statute of limitations

Suing for Alienation of Affection

The core element of the alienation of affection claim is that the defendant is the cause of the separation or divorce. In this case, the adulterous affair need not be the single reason why the marriage ended. The claim will hold its weight in court if it was proven that the defendant was a controlling cause for the alienation. These claims apply not only to a third-party partner but also can be brought against counselors, therapists, family members, or anyone responsible for the break-up. To sue for alienation of affection you must prove the following:

  • The plaintiff and the spouse had a loving, affectionate marriage
  • The love and affection were destroyed and the plaintiff and the spouse were alienated
  • The defendant’s malicious action directly caused the alienation
  • The alienation caused the plaintiff to be emotionally distressed or damaged in some way

How to Sue for Emotional Distress with DoNotPay?

For someone suffering emotional distress due to adultery, it can be challenging to take on the long and arduous process of filing a lawsuit. Not only is there multiple paperwork to fill up, but also technical demand letters to draft and lots of bureaucracies to go through.

Let DoNotPay handle the work for you! The robot lawyer streamlines the suing process into 4 simple steps. All you need to do is:

  1. Log in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now product
  2. Quantify your damages in monetary terms
  3. Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
  4. Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any evidence to prove your claim

That’s it! DoNotPay will generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you!

What Else Can DoNotPay Do For You?

Thousands of DoNotPay users have used the Sue Now service to claim compensation as well as seek justice. Here’s a list of companies DoNotPay has helped sue: