Earlier this year, a North Carolina resident received a judgment of 8.8 million dollars for his wife’s affair. The man sued his wife’s lover for alienation of affection. The man claimed the defendant was liable for seducing his wife and ending his marriage and the court agreed.
Alienation of affection is a common law tort that refers to a third party’s interference in a marriage. North Carolina is one of seven states that allow alienation of affection lawsuits. The other states include Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah.
According to the recent lawsuit, the husband claimed him and his wife had a happy marriage until she began having an affair in 2015. After her husband discovered the affair by reviewing their phone records, he told his wife’s lover to stop pursuing his wife. However, the man persisted, which resulted in the destruction of the couple’s marriage. Additionally, the husband claimed the ending of his marriage resulted in his company suffering severely as well.
The third party in an alienation of affection lawsuit does not have to be a person sexually involved with the plaintiff’s spouse. The third-party can be a friend, family member, therapist, coworker, priest or other person that interferes with a couple’s marriage.
Three elements are required to prove an alienation of affection claim. The elements include:
- The spouses were married and there was genuine love and affection between them;
- That genuine love and affection was destroyed by a third party;
- The third party’s actions were wrongful and malicious, and ultimately destroyed the genuine love and affection between the spouses.
As the husband in the recent lawsuit knows, experiencing alienation of affection can be devastating. If you believe someone interfered in your marriage and you might have an alienation of affection claim, consult with an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your options.