Alienation Of Affection And Criminal Conversation Claims
In North Carolina, an extramarital affair can prove extremely costly for the party outside of the marriage. Our state’s alienation of affection and criminal conversation laws allow the wronged spouse to sue people who significantly interfere with a marital relationship or entice a spouse into straying from a marriage.
Did A Wrongful Act End The Marriage?
In the North Carolina legal statutes, alienation of affection means the willful and malicious act of fracturing an otherwise happy marriage, while criminal conversation refers to the affair itself.
The law poses three important questions in determining if a person is, indeed, to be held liable for damages in an alienation of affection case:
- Was the marriage happy and was there genuine love and affection between the spouses?
- Were the love and affection destroyed?
- Was the destruction of that love and affection the direct result of the wrongful and malicious acts of the third party?
If the answer to all of the above is yes, then the wronged spouse may be entitled to significant financial damages. The relationship in question does not even have to be sexual in nature. In North Carolina, alienation of affection claims have succeeded in cases in which the spouse and the person causing the alienation were not even lovers.
A Ripple Effect In Divorce Cases
This law is one reason an adulterous affair can turn a divorce case on its head. Even if they do not intend to sue, a party in a divorce may use the threat of an alienation of affection suit to gain an advantage in divorce negotiations. This may compel the cheating spouse to give ground in matters such as property division and spousal support. If your marriage ended due to an extramarital affair, and you feel such a lawsuit may enter the equation, it is important to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in these matters.
Trusted Guidance For Any Divorce Matter
The attorneys at Parsons Law are prepared to handle the most sensitive and contentious divorce cases, including those in which adultery and other wrongdoings that contributed to the fracture of the marriage. To learn more, and to schedule a confidential consultation with an Asheville divorce lawyer, please contact our office by telephone at 828-600-7499 or by filling out the online request form.