By: Danielle Garcia
Infecting your spouse with a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, gentile herpes, HIV/AIDS, HPV, syphilis or some other STD/STI is among the most common forms of marital tort.
The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 5 Americans carry an STD or STI and the APA estimates that infidelity results in up to 40% of divorces.
With these odds, while a divorce stemming from infidelity is difficult enough, adding an STD to the mix only
magnifies the sentiment of betrayal. Under certain conditions, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for present and future damages stemming from an STD transmitted to you from your spouse.
The amount of compensation varies on a case by case basis. In a recent Louisiana case, the Supreme Court in that state awarded $125,000 to a divorced wife who claimed that her former husband transmitted genital herpes during the marriage.
Like with any type of lawsuit, if you sue your spouse for giving you an STD, it is your burden to prove that to the court. You will be required to produce medical proof or expert testimony indicating that you have the disease and their opinion on when the disease was contracted, if they can form that opinion.
Additionally, you will need to prove that your spouse was the source of the STD, which can be particularly challenging depending on the specific STD in question. These kinds of proceedings can be very uncomfortable as they will almost always call into question sexual history and conduct of both parties.
If you feel as though you have a martial tort claim against your spouse, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a competent family law attorney experienced in these types of claims. The rules and laws governing these types of matters can be complicated, such as how long you have to file your claim.
If you find yourself in this situation, please give us a call to learn more about your options.