Can I sue for breaking up my marriage

Asked almost 3 years ago - Charleston, SC

My wife recently was in an affair with an adjunct professor. Can I sue the institution as well as him for breaking up the marriage? The state is SC. The affair went on for 6-7 months. I have evidence. I am in the divorce process now.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . What you seem to be asking about Is called an "alienation of affections" suit. Most states have abolished such causes of action, but I do not know if that is the case in South Carolina. I suggest you ask your divorce attorney about this, as I am sure he or she will know the answer.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

  2. David F Stoddard

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . No, you cannot sue. There used to be a cause of action for alienation of affection that applied to these situations. however, the legislature passed a law about 15 years ago doing away with this cause of action.

  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Ask your divorce attorney if your state has an alienation of affection claim available, as state laws differ.

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  4. Darren M. Tobin

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I'm sorry to hear about your wife's affair. Each state is governed by laws in that state. In South Carolina, as you are probably aware given that you have started the divorce proceeding, you can file on the grounds of "no-fault divorce". In your case, you will want to consult with a family law attorney to make a sound strategic decision whether to allege the reason for the divorce is because of adultery or simply no-fault. It may help provide leverage if you do not accuse your wife of adultery as court documents are generally available to the public and not exposing her may translate to a better settlement for you.
    In terms of suing the institution for breaking up your marriage, you may have a difficult time proving the elements required for damages though you certainly should consult with an attorney well-versed in personal injury law in your state of South Carolina. Again, each state has its own laws. Best of luck.

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