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Can you sue your husband for emotional distress

Customer Question
can you sue your husband for emotional distress
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Family Law
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11/29/2009
Family Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
JD
JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,335
Experience: 10 years in litigation practice both private and public sectors (primarily family and criminal)
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Your location information has not come through... could you tell me what state/country you are in?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I am located in California, orange county. We have been together for 4.5 years, we were engaged for 2 years. In sept. of this year we had our cival marriage and we have been preparing our religious ceremony in cancun, mx for 2 years, which was scheduled to take place dec. 30th. Last week friday the 20th his mother and i had a discussion about her dress and she brought out all sorts of other issues and the conversation quickly turned sour. The issues were because i didnt include my sister in law as part of my bridal party, but to me they were so minor i couldnt believe this was happening. Since that day my husband changed with 4 days! On thanksgiving he told he was not going to spend it with me, that he wanted to be with his family. While living with him i developed a panic attack disorder and that day i had a severe one and had to call 911 and i was taken to the hospital. While i was in the hospital he went to our home and took his clothes and called my sister, mom and dad and asked them to go to the hopital and pick me up. I called him while in the er to et him know where i was going to be, and all he said was "i am not going to be there, you should be with your family", this was his way of ending our relationship. I went to the apartment and saw that his belongings were gone, so my parents helped me pack my stuff and left. I am devastated, sad, confused, with all the wedding things ready, worthless, and hurt. I have a hard time even chewing food. So my mom made me make an emergency appoint with a psychologist yesterday, who ended diagnosing me with major depression and major panic attack disorder as a result of what happened. Now i am still in shock that he changed in less than a week. When he took his belongings he also took my passport and social security card, i had to call the police in order to get it back. We also had $17,000 saved for the wedding, some portion of it was a gift. I pulled that money out the next day before he did. He is upset i took the money because he wanted to split the money. He said that he would give me my passport and social security card if i gave him his portion of the money. But i need the money for therapy, i can't work, i can barely even eat. I am devastated and humiliated in front of all mu family and friends. What can i do?
Family Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 8 years ago

I am very sorry for your situation. Please understand that your own health (physical and mental) must come first and you must handle this before addressing legal issues. Stay close to your family, friends, and neighbors and rely on their emotional support.

You said you had a civil marriage already? Are you telling me that you are already legally married or did you simply obtain a marriage license?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
we are legally married
Family Lawyer: JD, Lawyer replied 8 years ago

Very well. In that case you must sue for divorce... or counter sue him for divorce if he should file first. In your divorce action, you will be able to recover equitable relief for his actions through alimony as well as receive a fair share of the martial property in the division of assets and liabilities. While you cannot recover damages for emotional damages in a divorce case, the fact that he has abandoned you in such a way will play a role in the awarding of alimony. Your emotional and mental condition places you in severe need of at least rehabilitative alimony and the court will take all of this into consideration.

A separate action for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (or negligent infliction of emotional distress) is a much more difficult issue. Most states have abolished the old common law claim for breach of a marital promise (breaking a promise to marry) because of the obvious need to prevent forcing people into a marriage they do not want. While a potential claim may exist if you could show that this breakup was done in such a way as to intentionally cause severe emotional distress to you by your husband, your strongest claim will be the claim for alimony.

You need to seek a divorce attorney immediately. I realize you probably do not want a divorce, but you need to protect yourself and your interests. You may be able to reconcile this marriage or you may not... but you must protect yourself and your future by standing up for yourself. You need your lawyer to file for a pendente lite hearing to set up immediate support payments to assist you with living expenses. You should also discuss the potential emotional distress lawsuit (separate from divorce). Your attorney may feel that filing that action in addition to the divorce could help facilitate a better and quicker resolution to your divorce.

Please reply if I can help further.

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Remember to click ACCEPT only when you are satisfied with your answers. This is how we get paid for our time with your questions. I would also appreciate any positive feedback you could provide. If you are not satisfied then please reply to me so I can further assist you or find someone else to help. I am not your attorney. Therefore no attorney-client relationship exists and any communications on this website are not subject to the attorney-client privilege. For this reason, please do not divulge any personal information and use this site only for hypothetical questions. This forum is for general questions and answers and I cannot provide you with applicable law or legal opinions or advice in your jurisdiction. Please seek the advice of a competent attorney in your jurisdiction. While I can answer general questions and discuss general legal principles, I cannot give you legal advice in your state. The internet is a great place to get general information but should not be seen as a substitute for the attorney-client relationship or the services of a good lawyer in your state.

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