Monday, May 20, 2013


In the past, inter-spousal tort immunity prevented spouses from suing each other for torts (assault, battery, etc.).  However, inter-spousal tort immunity is no longer recognized in the State of Florida, and therefore in addition to divorcing your spouse and seeking a fair division of assets, parenting plans regarding the children, alimony, child support, and all the other related matters in a divorce, you can sue your spouse for damages for injuries suffered during the marriage.  The most common claim is related to domestic battery.  If you are at a bar and a stranger came up and hit you in your face without justification, and you were injured, you would sue the establishment and the person who hit you in the face.  There is nothing different if your spouse is committing domestic assault and battery upon you and you are injured.  There are many other types of tort actions to consider if the acts of your spouse has damaged you.  The divorce court is therefore empowered to order additional damages and relief beyond the normal divorce petition, in the event of assault and battery and even other torts, ordering your former spouse to pay future health expenses regardless whether you remarry (alimony terminates upon remarriage).  Another example of a tort would be the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease (STD).  Obviously, this is an issue when there is adultery during marriage.  This is in essence suing your spouse for battery, which is an intentional touching without permission (STD is an intentional infliction upon you of a disease), as long as the transmission was intentional, meaning your spouse knew they were infected and your spouse had fraudulently concealed the fact of the infection and you would not have consented to intercourse had you known of the infection.  As you can imagine, because some STD’s cannot be cured, damages could continue for a lifetime.  Please note the law does vary from state to state, and some states do not recognize a tort for negligent transmission of a sexually transmitted disease.  Because of the abolishment of inter-spousal tort immunity, it is comforting to know that Florida law provides the right to seek damages from a spouse who has committed torts during the marriage whether it is a basic battery action (black eye, etc.) to a lifetime injury of an STD.  Therefore, when you are consulting with your divorce attorney, it is wise to be honest about all of the actions of your spouse upon you during the marriage, whether you find it embarrassing or not.