I understand that the list is now at 14 distinct dalliances by Tiger Woods, and the count is likely to grow. One of the reasons the legal types are interested in this situation is the precedent for “alienation of affection” suits, which can be filed when an “outsider” interferes in a marriage. These suits are allowed in seven states: Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. Why these suits are disallowed in all the other states is a curiosity. Perhaps lawmakers in those states were being pre-emptively self-protective. Who knows?
However, it doesn’t matter that Woods lives in Florida, a state where alienation of affections suits aren’t allowed. If any of Woods’ professed affairs took place in an alienation of affection state, Mrs. Tiger Woods could sue. According to my research, the suits rarely make it to trial – usually the threat of such an embarrassing lawsuit is enough to have it end up in an out-of-court financial settlement.
On my radio program, when I discuss with the “wronged” spouse their pain and desire to get revenge with the “other woman or man,” I remind them that it is their spouse who breached vows. The other individual was just the means to that sad end. When people don’t wish to leave their marriages, they often focus their rage on that other person to protect their spouse from their rage. However, I believe it ought to be common understanding that the vows include a warning to others: “let no man turn asunder” means that no one should interfere with the married couple’s intimacy. All society has really taken that vow. Therefore, I believe it is fair that there be some consequence, and perhaps compensation, for the hurt caused.
I think all states should allow such lawsuits, as they respect the sanctity of marriage.