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Can I sue my ex wife for alienating my daughter against me?

Medford, OR |
Filed under: Family law

My daughter is 24 years old and my ex-wife has been filling her head that I have done terrible things such as molestations, physical abuse and cheating since she was 3 years old when we separated. None of the accusations against me are true, all of which were proven in court, but my daughter will have nothing to do with me believing that it is true. My daughter and I have always been very close up until she was about 16, but she is afraid to stand up to her mother and I have hardly seen or spoke to her since then. I have had no contact with my ex-wife since then either, the permanent damage she has done to me and my daughter is ongoing and I have no relationship with my daughter because of it.

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Jay Bodzin

Jay Bodzin


I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut off like that. Let me clarify: If your daughter were under 18, you could use such statements by your wife to argue for a change in custody. Courts look with disfavor upon parents who seek to prevent an ongoing relationship between their child and the other parent. But because your daughter's an adult now, this is a non-issue. That leaves you with a potential suit for defamation: slander (spoken untrue statements) or libel (written ones). To win a defamation suit, you need to be able to prove that the defendant (your ex-wife, in this case) made untrue statements, which they knew to be untrue, to someone else, and that you suffered a cognizable harm as a direct result. Assuming that you could prove that your ex-wife's statements were all untrue, you'd still have the problem of proving, first, that these were the direct cause of your deteriorated relationship with your daughter - that there was no intervening act of will on anyone else's part that contributed - and, second, that this was a sort of damage that a court can repair. I don't know how you put a monetary value on a relationship with your child. You may well say, you're not interested in the money, you're interested in vindication: but that is a very bad reason to file lawsuits. The courts are not here to validate your personal feelings or render verdicts in family drama. They are here to resolve disputes that society cannot tolerate unresolved - and they don't do it perfectly, either. People who want Justice from the courts are routinely disappointed, because justice is too high and pure and abstract a concept for us to get right all the time. A court is not going to be able to compel your daughter to have a relationship with you. That's on you. You can contact her again, and ask to tell your side of the story. Show her the evidence that you're telling the truth, and ask her to understand. That's all that can be done to actually repair your relationships.

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