Ask a Family Law Attorney: Can I Sue An Ex-Spouse for Defamation?

family lawAs many of our clients know, going through the process of divorce is tough. Conflict is inevitable, and many resort to name-calling, nasty accusations, and other types of antagonistic behavior in an attempt to “win” the divorce. As a result, clients often ask us if they can sue their ex-spouse for some of the things they said during the divorce.

This type of accusation would generally fall under defamation. For this post, we’re diving a bit deeper and discussing defamation within the context of divorce. Remember, if you’re planning on suing an ex-spouse for this type of issue, the first step should always be to consult with a reputable legal professional. For now, let’s begin by defining exactly what defamation is, especially as it relates to divorces and family law in California.

Defining Defamation in a Divorce Case

California law defines defamation as false communications that damage another person, whether it involves financial damages or other types of harmful consequences. Verbal communications are categorized as ‘slander’ and written communications fall under the umbrella of ‘libel.’

In order for slander or libel to be considered defamation and thus provide you with grounds for a suit, you need to be able to prove that the communications were:

  • False
  • Communicated to other people
  • Not presented as an opinion
  • Harmful to you or your reputation

With divorce cases and other procedures involving family law, things can quickly get complicated. This is because, in California, some statements are shielded by privilege. In other words, those who are involved with a divorce, child custody dispute, or any other conflict involving family law are allowed certain protections for the things they say.

Consult with a Qualified California Divorce Attorney

The best way to know whether you have a defamation case on your hands is simply to consult with a qualified family law attorney in California, especially when it involves divorce or family law in any capacity.

At Rubin & Levin, P. C., we provide our clients with our legal expertise on a variety of family law matters, including those that involve libel, slander, or defamation. To learn more, and to schedule a free initial consultation, we invite you to call us directly at your earliest convenience.

Call us today to learn more about how we can help.