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5 Ways Love Can Lead to Lawsuits, Legal Action

By Tanya Roth, Esq. | Updated by Joseph Fawbush, Esq. | Last updated on

Love is a many-splendored thing... until it leads to a lawsuit. Love-gone-wrong lawsuits can be particularly nasty. And no, we're not just talking about divorce (although that, too). But from STIs to property fights, love gone wrong can go really wrong.

As you celebrate (or actively don't celebrate) Valentine's Day, here are five ways that romances-gone-sour can lead to lawsuits and other legal consequences:

  1. Breaking up is hard to do. Do you have a lot of shared assets with a long-term partner? How do you know what belongs to them and what belongs to you? It's not a divorce, but if you've been living with someone for a considerable amount of time, it may sure feel like one. Consider a cohabitation agreement to avoid conflict. Of course, you can help avoid legal issues by working it out together, agreeting on who gets the puppy or the ring back, etc. But if there are fights over belongings, just because you weren't married doesn't mean you won't end up in court.
  2. Itching for justice after an STD infection. Did an ex give you herpes? You can sue for that! There's a legal cause of action for wrongful transmission of a sexually transmitted disease; failure to disclose an STD infection may also be unlawful, depending on your state's laws. These are not always easy cases to win, and the amount of potential recovery will depend on the type of STI, but it is possible.
  3. Online dating disasters. Over the past few years, there have been a few notable lawsuits against online dating companies. Some suits seek compensation for injuries and criminal acts committed by dates they met online. In one recent case, a woman sued for setting her up with a crazy man who later stabbed her and left her for dead. Her case was dismissed, but that doesn't mean a dating site couldn't be liable for injuries in some circumstances. And, outside of personal injury lawsuits, it's never a bad idea to get an order of protection or restraining order if you feel you may be in danger.
  4. Valentine's Day FAIL. There's no legal cause of action for not giving someone a Valentine's Day present. But if your lover goes cuckoo, like one woman allegedly did in Ohio, you might be able to sue for assault. This woman in question allegedly frightened her boyfriend so badly that he barricaded himself in a room. She was booked on the charge of menacing.
  5. Divorce. According to The New York Times, February is a big coming out month — for coming out about your affair, that is. It's a common time for spouses or significant others to discover the "other" significant other through credit card bills and misplaced gifts. The winter months are also known as "divorce season" as more people get divorced between January and March than any other time of the year.

Of course, we here at FindLaw are not looking to kill your Valentine's Day vibe, so buy flowers and chocolate, and enjoy a day of romance. Just, you know, be honest about whether you have herpes.

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