MINNEAPOLIS — It's Valentines Day and when we fall in love, we never think about what will happen when we fall out of it.
When everything goes wrong in a relationship, you want to find someone to blame, right?
In six states and one territory, you can.
It's called Alienation of Affection.
"What I find odd is that in today's day and age that you would either follow someone around or sue the person you're claiming broke up your happy marriage and somehow money would fix whatever wrongs have been done to the person," Kristy Rodd said. Rodd is a partner at Honsa Rodd Landry family law firm in Minneapolis.
You read that right. In Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, you can sue your partner's extra-marital partner for money.
"Two South Dakota residents, a wife was having an affair with an orthopedic surgeon from Las Vegas," explained Rodd. "The husband found out about it and they ended up getting a divorce. The husband sued the surgeon for monetary damages."
A jury trial and a circulation to the appeals court later, the man who had been cheated on ended up winning $400,000.
"This aggrieved husband was claiming loss of wages, perhaps he was depressed and couldn't work," Rodd said. "Perhaps the lawsuit itself or uncovering it about his wife made it so that he had emotional distress and had to see a therapist."
How's that for popping the romance of marriage?
Before you get any ideas though, Minnesota does not have Alienation of Affection. There's something close, though.
"In Minnesota in a divorce you can get monetary damages back in the divorce for what we call dissipation," Rodd said. "If the wife was spending funds on a third party we would consider that a dissipation or a marital waste claim."
However, Rodd said it won't be anywhere near hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is because Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, meaning no one has to prove anything to separate from anyone.
Rodd said she and her co-workers would prefer it that way, working in an environment without Alienation of Affection torts.
"I think it might lead into a direction that doesn't help the practice of divorce in the state of Minnesota," Rodd said. "It would kind of butt heads with the no-fault divorce."
On this Hallmark holiday of love, if you're going through heartbreak -- we're sorry. However, you can't forget, you gotta learn to love yourself too. Not just on Feb. 14, but on 365 days of the year.