Spoiler Alert: There’s a good reason a lot of lawyers don’t take these cases.
Getting cheated on is the absolute worst; the emotional pain of such a betrayal can cause some of the most devastating mental distress. Given what we know about the effects cheating has on a spouse, it isn’t any wonder that the betrayed spouse would like to get even with their unfaithful spouse by filing a lawsuit against their spouse’s lover. Utah Alienation of Affection laws do allow a person to sue for alienation of affection. However, these cases are extremely difficult to prove, let alone win. It’s for this reason that many attorneys often refuse to take these cases.
What Utah Alienation of Affection Laws Say
A person can file a lawsuit for alienation of affection against their spouse’s lover. When successful, this lawsuit can result in financial compensation to the betrayed party. As previously stated, it’s an attractive lawsuit for those who have been cheated on. Though it’s not illegal to cheat on your spouse, there may be repercussions in a civil court for infidelity depending on your location. Few people are ever successful in winning alienation of affection claims because of the elements that are required for a successful case. However, there are a few people who have been successful in suing their spouse’s lover for alienation of affection.
Your Spouse’s Lover Is the Sole Cause of the Alienation
If you’re filing a claim, you have to prove that you had a happy marriage before the person alienated your spouse’s affection. This means that, for your claim to be successful, you’d have to prove that your spouse’s affair was the sole reason for your spouse being alienated. It’s likely that the court would require the alienation to result in divorce. A lot of people really struggle to prove this because there isn’t a good way to objectively measure marital happiness prior to an affair. In fact, a lot of people struggle to prove that the affair even happened in the first place.
The Affair Was Unsolicited
You also have to prove that the affair was unsolicited; meaning that your spouse’s lover willfully and intentionally alienated the cheating spouse’s affections. You cannot win a claim if it can be shown that your spouse willingly sought out an affair. Proving that the affair was unsolicited usually involves extensive documentation of your spouse’s lover repeatedly attempting to alienate your spouse’s affections. When the spouse themselves initiates the affair, that typically indicates that there was already marital strain before the affair began. Thus, your spouse’s affections were likely not genuinely alienated by their lover. Utah law states that alienation means the loss of the comfort, society and consortium of the spouse. The term consortium is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the legal right of one spouse to the company, affection, and assistance of and to sexual relations with the other.”
There Were Damages
You also have to prove there were damages. A lot of the larger settlements and judgements from alienation of affection lawsuits involved affairs that significantly damaged the betrayed spouse financially. Though the pain and emotional distress of an affair may be unbearable, it is difficult for judges and/or juries to calculate how to compensate for pain and suffering alone. Punitive damages (damages for pain and suffering) are not typically awarded alone either. In order for courts to award punitive damages, the actions of the defendant must be particularly egregious—and affairs alone are not typically egregious enough to mandate punitive damages.
Weighing the Cost of a Civil Suit
Even if you are able to prove that you were economically damaged as well as emotionally damaged, you will need to decide whether or not it’s actually worth it to pursue the lawsuit. Though it may feel good to win the lawsuit emotionally, it may not be good for you financially. Unless your damages outweigh the legal fees you’ll spend suing your spouse’s lover, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue the lawsuit. This is especially true if you know there’s no possible way you’ll be able to collect the sum from your spouse’s lover. Though wage garnishments are possible, collecting the money that way may be a slow and tedious process. In many cases, it’s best for the plaintiff to save their money and put it to better uses.
When You’re Ready for Divorce
If you’ve been cheated on, CoilLaw is here for you. Though Utah alienation affection laws do allow people to sue their spouse’s lover, CoilLaw may be able to provide assistance with an alienation of affection lawsuit. We can also provide you with support and information during your divorce. Our talented team of paralegals and attorneys is dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating for you during this very difficult time. If you’re ready to file for divorce, and start the rest of your life, contact CoilLaw today.
Experts weren’t quite sure what the impact of COVID-19 would be on the divorce rates across America. Some assumed that the rates of divorce would skyrocket with so many couples who can’t stand each other being quarantined with one another. Others theorized that COVID may be a good time for couples to work together on issues in their marriage—being stuck together in quarantine was quite an opportunity for couples to have quality time together. Though we’ve been dealing with the COVID pandemic for almost two years, we still don’t have concrete data on how the pandemic has affected divorce rates on a global scale. However, if you’re going through a divorce during the pandemic, make sure you know how to stay physically and mentally healthy.