– from Christine M. in West Allis, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I were married for nearly a decade before arriving at the conclusion that divorce was the only option. I did not mention the physical or emotional abuse I suffered during the marriage at the time of the divorce proceedings. We have now been divorced for several months, but I do not feel as though I can keep going without closure on the matter. Can I bring abuse charges against him even though we are now divorced?

Family Law Attorney Response:

There is no law barring a tort action against a former spouse. Further, you are not required to mention instances of violence from a spouse during a divorce proceeding.

This is demonstrated in the case of Stuart v. Stuart 143 Wis. 2d 347, 421 N.W.2d 505 (1988) (Affirming 140 Wis. 2d 455, 410 N.W.2d 632 (Ct. App. 1987)). Aside from the specifics of this case, the wife decided to bring a tort action against her husband for assault, battery, and emotional distress three months after the final divorce judgment. The husband moved for a summary judgment, claiming the action was barred. The trial court granted summary judgment and subsequently dismissed the claim. The wife appealed and the court of appeals reversed. Upon review, the supreme court affirmed the court of appeals decision.

My advice is to contact an attorney to discuss the details of your case before moving forward.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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