Alienation of affection claims arise when someone outside of the marriage willfully and maliciously interferes with the marriage. In order to be successful, an alienation of affection claim must show (at a minimum) that:
If your spouse was having an intimate relationship with another person prior to your separation, or if you suspect someone else convinced your spouse to leave the marriage unjustly, you may have a claim for alienation of affection.
If you have evidence such as photos, text messages, etc. that documents the alienating actions, make sure you save the evidence in a safe place so it is not lost or destroyed. In some cases, our clients know that alienation of affection occurred, but we have to work with a private investigator to obtain additional evidence and/or other evidence that would be allowed and admissible in Court.
Before making a claim for alienation of affection, or signing a statement waiving your right to make a claim, contact the family law attorneys at McNeil Law Firm to schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights and options.
Are you intimately involved with someone who is married? Or maybe you have already been sued for alienation of affection. If so, give us a call today to learn more about your rights and options.
Additionally, if you are separated or are anticipating a separation from your spouse in the near future, an experienced family law attorney can help you prepare documents that can protect you and your romantic interest from being sued for alienation of affection by your spouse. This type of agreement is often contained in a Separation Agreement, but there are other documents that may be able to be used while the terms of a Separation Agreement are still be negotiated.
Most states no longer recognize alienation of affection claims, but North Carolina does. In the past several years, various bills have been introduced in the NC legislature to try and eliminate the current alienation of affection laws, but the bills did not pass. Some legislators and lobby groups say these claims are outdated because they are based on ancient property law. Additionally, there are legitimate concerns that these claims are abused in domestic cases to obtain settlements that would not be possible in the domestic court setting. Other legislators and lobby groups say the statutes help preserve the family and help put a value on a marriage and the damage that can be caused when someone outside the marriage interferes.
North Carolina juries have handed out large awards in alienation of affection cases. In 2001, a Greensboro jury awarded $2 million in one case. Another jury awarded $1.2 million in 1997 in a Forsyth County case. Other awards include $1 million to an Alamance County woman, $243,000 to a Wake County man, and $40,000 to a Durham County man who wife allegedly ran off with another man.
Every case is different, so make sure you talk with an experienced family law attorney about the facts specific to your case. Whether you have an alienation of affection claim or whether you’re being sued, contact McNeil Law Firm to learn more about your rights and options. To schedule a confidential consultation, give us a call today at (919)-803-6778.
The information contained on this site is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue before taking action of any kind. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or to create or imply the formation of a lawyer-client relationship between the reader and this firm.