Alienation of Affection Actions are Alive and Well in North Carolina
While the majority of states no longer allow suits for alienation of affection, North Carolina is not one of them. A spouse’s right to sue the paramour of the other spouse or any third-party (more on that later) who alienates the affections of the other spouse is still alive and well in North Carolina. For example, in 2011, an award of $30 million dollars was issued in an alienation of affection lawsuit in Wake County.
To prove a case for alienation of affection, a plaintiff must show
1. The couple was happily married and a genuine love and affection existed between them; and
2. The love and affection was alienated and destroyed; and
3. The wrongful and malicious acts of the defendant produced the alienation of affection.
What a plaintiff does not need to show is that the marriage was perfect before the alienation of affection occurred. All that is required is that some love and affection existed in the marriage. Additionally, it isn’t required that the paramour pursued the relationship. Lastly, most people are surprised to find out that sexual intercourse is not a requirement. In fact, any third-party can be successfully sued as long as the requirements are met. That is why this lawsuit is nicknamed the “mother-in-law” suit. Even someone’s mother-in-law may be sued if she alienated the affections of the spouse.
Alienation of affection is a complex claim and, as noted above, can result in excessively large awards for damages. That is why it is imperative you have an experienced attorney handling your claim. If you believe you have a claim for alienation of affection or you must defend against one, you need to speak with a North Carolina family law attorney right away.
Prorolo connects clients and attorneys in North Carolina. Take the first step in setting up a consultation with an attorney in your area. Find a North Carolina attorney or submit your issue and we’ll find help for you.