Legal Mentor, Demetria Graves, Esq. Discusses Dwyane Wayde’s Divorce Case and the Validity of ‘Emotional Distress’ Lawsuits

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Celebrated professional basketball player, Dwyane Wade of Miami Heat, and actress Gabrielle Union were sued by his estranged wife, Siohvaughn Wade, for emotional distress in conjunction with an ongoing custody suit. Attorney at Law and Legal Mentor, Demetria Graves, discusses the implications of this suit and the rules and motives regarding ‘emotional distress’ lawsuits.

Divorce and custody lawsuits can be highly-charged, emotional affairs. Walking in with a “winner-takes-all” attitude can set estranged spouses at war with one another and can result in lengthy, and costly, court battles. Dwyane Wade’s ongoing custody battle with estranged wife Siohvaughn Wade, however, has an interesting added twist: On behalf of their children, Zaire and Zion Wade, his wife has filed a lawsuit with the Circuit Court of Cook County (Case # 2010-L-005211) against his alleged girlfriend, actress Gabrielle Union, for emotional damages. But, can estranged spouses sue mistresses for emotional damages, and if so what is the extent of the law? Here to discuss these types of lawsuits is Family Attorney at Law and Legal Mentor, Demetria Graves, who is based out of Los Angeles, California.

The idea that an estranged spouse can sue their spouse’s girlfriend/boyfriend for emotional distress and damage seems to go beyond the extent of the law at first glance. However, as Demetria Graves, Esq., points out, in some states this type of suit falls within the legal system. When asked whether such suits would hold up in a California court of law, Family Attorney Demetria Graves stated, “This is a very interesting topic, especially here in California, as we have a no fault state and such lawsuit would be a civil matter.” She then went on to comment on the apparent rise in this type of suit over the years. Why? According to Attorney Graves, “Honestly such lawsuits, in some cases, stem from devastating and highly litigated divorce cases. Although I am aware that new ‘girlfriends and/or boyfriends’ would like to be involved and to support their loved one, too much involvement can enrage the other party and cause such lawsuits.” So, if you are the significant other in a divorce or custody case, it might be in your best legal interest to keep a safe distance, or potentially face civil charges, justified or not.

As a civil case, this is one that is not litigated in family law courts in California, which means that Ms. Union will have to fight it in the civil courts.

When asked about whether Ms. Wade’s decision to file this civil suit in court was a wise one, Family Law Attorney Demetria Graves said it was potentially a very risky move. According to Attorney Graves, “If this back fires on her and the suit doesn’t stand, the court will consider if Ms. Wade would cooperatively co-parent with Mr. Wade. In addition, the court may think that she is trying to ‘disrupt’ the current court orders for her own legal/financial benefit, which could severely hurt her position. On the other hand, if this suit does stand, Mr. Wade will have decisions to make regarding his ‘interaction’ with his current girlfriend Ms. Union.” So, will it pay off? That is something that only time can tell.

Demetria L. Graves, Esq. is a family law attorney who opened her own firm to provide clients with the exceptional personal service and legal mentoring that is not always available at a larger firm. Demetria Graves is an outstanding attorney, with memberships in the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the Pasadena Bar Association. She has also been a Professor of Family Law at West Law College in Los Angeles. In addition, Demetria Graves is an active member of the Step Up Women’s Network, a nonprofit targeting the development of business skills in women and underprivileged teens.

Ms. Graves, Esq., handles all aspects of California family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, modifications, paternity, visitation rights, guardianship and related legal issues. The Law Offices of Demetria L. Graves represents clients throughout Los Angeles County, including Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, L.A., West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Arcadia, Alhambra and communities throughout the Los Angeles metro area.

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