A tort is a civil cause of action wherein the defendant, or tortfeasor, breaches his or her legal duty to act, resulting in injury or loss to the plaintiff. In the context of family law, one party including a spouse owes certain duties to the other party or spouse. When one party breaches their duty, and the other suffers harm as result, there may be a cause of action for a domestic tort. These torts may be required to be brought in a dissolution of marriage action, or certain other actions.
For example, the intentional transmission of a sexually transmitted disease is a domestic tort in Florida for which one spouse may seek damages against the offending spouse. Other examples involve domestic violence (assault, battery, etc.), negligence, intentional interference with child custody, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, to name a few. Each tort has certain elements, which the victim spouse must prove, in order to sustain a claim for a domestic tort.
If a domestic tort claim is successful, the victim spouse may be able to recover medical expenses, mental health treatment expenses, money for loss of earning capacity, and other monies from the offending spouse as a result of the tort.
Although it may be possible to raise a tort claim after a divorce, it is important to keep in mind that tort and civil claims are subject to the statute of limitations, meaning that you have only a certain period of time to bring forth the claims. Therefore, it is important that you make your attorney aware of your circumstances if you believe you may be the victim of or accused of a domestic tort or the subject of or the proponent of another civil claim.
To receive more information regarding domestic torts and or other civil claims, please contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation with our attorneys at our office in Naples, Florida.