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What Are Marital Torts?

Marital torts are legal claims against spouses for actions during a marriage or divorce. They often can be handled in conjunction with legal proceedings.
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    SUGAR LAND, TX, December 11, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- By the time a couple decides to pursue a divorce, spouses may have felt betrayed and hurt for months or years. These feelings are a normal part of divorce. In some cases, however, the transgressions between couples in divorce go beyond hurt feelings. Assault, infliction of mental anguish and other harmful actions are not uncommon, and they can lead to the basis of a legal claim within your divorce action.

These claims are called marital torts. Interest is growing among spouses who want to recover from abuse, violence or financial harm inflicted on them by a spouse during marriage. These claim soften arise during divorce and may be handled in conjunction with divorce proceedings.

Types Of Marital Torts

Marital torts are legal claims that are based on actions or behaviors between spouses during the marriage or during a divorce. Marital torts may be intentional or unintentional. An intentional tort occurs when the spouse intends a wrongful action and the action causes harm. An unintentional tort does not require proof that the spouse intended the wrongful action, but that he or she should have known that harm would result from the action.

In Texas, marital torts may include:

- Assault and battery
- Transmission of a sexually transmitted disease
- Rape and sexual assault
- Infliction of emotional distress
- False imprisonment
- Invasion of privacy
- Forgery
- Fraud, including fraudulent transfer of community property
- Breach of fiduciary duty

Marital torts are usually against a spouse, but may also occur against third parties. For example, a third party who allowed a child to be abused or an accountant or financial adviser who helped conceal financial misdeeds may be brought into a lawsuit.

Claims Require Competent Counsel

Marital tort claims add complexity to a divorce proceeding. Because of their complexity, a marital tort claim should be handled by an experienced attorney. A competent family law attorney will be able to evaluate and determine issues such as:

- Whether a spouse's actions form the basis for a marital tort claim. Some incidents, no matter how egregious, may not be a valid tort claim.
- Whether a marital tort claim is worthwhile. In many cases, the wrongdoer may not be able to pay damages. Insurance may cover these claims in some, but not all, cases.
- Whether a marital tort claim should be handled separately from divorce proceedings. In Texas, courts may hear both divorce and tort cases, but in some cases, attorneys may wish to pursue these cases separately.
- What impact a marital tort claim could have on divorce proceedings and the division of a couple's property.

Our law firm provides experienced representation for family law matters in Sugar Land and other cities in the Houston area. To learn more about how we can help you, visit

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