As is the answer to many legal questions-it depends.
When a marriage falls apart, there are typically many reasons for the demise of the relationship. In some cases, however, there is one primary factor in a couple’s divorce and sometimes that factor can be another person.
If your marriage has ended due in large part to an affair or other relationship with someone outside of the marriage, you can be absolutely devastated. It is very common to feel betrayed, angry, and/or depressed and you may want to hold that third party accountable for all the damage he or she has done. In general, these claims are not recognized in all but six states. Only North Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah recognize a claim against a person who caused the destruction of a marriage
However, a recent story highlights vulnerability in the law that could impact Californians. A lawsuit citing alienation of affection was recently filed by the ex-wife of professional golfer John Daly against his new fiancée. According to the suit, Daly’s ex-wife claims that Daly cheated on her with the woman who is now his fiancée. She claims that parts of the affair took place in Mississippi, which is where she filed her claim.
The Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled that the case can proceed. However, the fiancée is appealing because none of the parties involved live in Mississippi and she is raising jurisdictional challenges to the ruling. It will be interesting to see what decision is reached, as it could affect other people in states that do not permit these types of claims.
This case may certainly be interesting, but it is important to understand that while it may seem like getting revenge or assigning blame will help you get closure after a divorce, ultimately it is the support and guidance you receive during this difficult time that can make the biggest difference in helping you move forward.
Source: The Washington Post, “John Daly’s complicated life: Fiancee wants ex-wife’s lawsuit thrown out,” Cindy Boren, May 14, 2015