Interspousal torts involving posts in social media

Interspousal Torts: “Can I sue my Husband for cheating on me and then posting our very private personal pictures on the internet?” Tough questions with no clear answers.

In Clark and in Washoe, the Family Court handles divorce cases, and it can also handle most civil suit matters under the divorce case. In other counties, the General Jurisdiction Courts handle all issues as there is no separate Family Court option.

One spouse may sue the other for injuries arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle. Neither the Nevada Legislature nor the Nevada Supreme Court has yet extended that permission to sue beyond motor vehicle cases, however, it appears likely that such a decision will eventually be made. While not yet tested in the Nevada Supreme Court, the following crimes may give rise to a private cause of action sounding in tort: transmission of venereal disease, custodial interference by parent, sexual assault, and assault and battery. Other possible actions sounding in tort, not yet tested in the context of an interspousal case in Nevada include: intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and false imprisonment.

The “heart?balm” statutes of alienation of affections, breach of promise to marry, and criminal conversation, were abolished by the Nevada Legislature in 1943 and 1979. In fact, it is a crime purchase proscar online punishable as a misdemeanor for either a litigant or an attorney to file, or even to threaten to file an action based on any of those causes of action.

“How does all this answer my question?” You cannot sue your Husband for cheating. However, you may have an additional claim for exposure to STDs which can be raised in the divorce case. And, any excessive money spent on the “hoochie” can be sought for recovery under a “community waste” claim. Keep in mind that the community waste money has to be a pretty sizeable sum to be worth the legal effort to recover the damages. As for the posting of your pictures on the internet, in addition to the TPO process, the Judges are very likely to grant hard orders on the other side to take down the posting and to award you attorney’s fees. Can more be done? If you want to raise a personal injury claim arising from the marriage, you should speak with your attorney to bring the claim forward sooner rather than later, and not wait until the divorce concludes.


Robert Cerceo
Nevada Certified Family Law Specialist
Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Fellow, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Kimberly Surratt served for eight years on the executive council and has been the vice chair and then chair of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. In addition, she is the President-Elect of the Nevada Justice Association and the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004.

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