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Can you sue for pain and suffering in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Divorce

Terminating a marriage often involves more than the untangling of lives. It can also lead to emotional discomfort, especially when the other person dishes out abuse.

Many people wonder if it is possible to sue for pain and suffering as part of the divorce process.

Pain and suffering

This legal term usually refers to the physical or mental stress resulting from an accident. In personal injury cases, people sometimes receive compensation for their subsequent anguish. However, divorce is different. The focus of these trials is on ending a marital union and addressing attendant issues like property division, child custody and spousal maintenance.

In most instances, you cannot include pain and suffering in a divorce. The purpose of these proceedings is to legally dissolve the marriage and settle related matters, not to address the psychological impact of the relationship.

Legal alternatives

Although you typically cannot sue for pain and suffering within the divorce itself, there may be other legal actions you can take. For instance, situations involving domestic violence or verbal abuse might lead to a lawsuit where the issue of pain and suffering could be a central feature.

Focusing on the future

Whatever your circumstance, it is wise to concentrate on the legal aspects of the divorce and look for healthy ways of coping with its impact. Support from friends, family or mental health professionals can help manage the strain. These individuals are also often able to help settle decisions regarding life changes.

Although the legal system typically does not allow including pain and suffering as part of a divorce, mistreatment may play a role in a separate trial. Before asking a judge to award such damages, consider seeking an order of protection.