Don’t Get Mad, Get Paid

Divorce can be devastating, but according to the website of the Marshall Taylor Law Firm there are situations in which divorce can be a blessed relief. Infidelity is one of the main reasons for divorce, but there exist circumstances, at least in North Carolina, when your divorce lawyer may instead advise a different legal action first: an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Similar to a personal injury lawsuit, alienation of affection is a common tort law that allows a spouse who has been cheated on to demand compensation from the philandering spouse for it in civil court. It differs from adultery, which is a degree misdemeanor in most states where it is illegal that can include fines and jail time, because there has to be proof of sexual intercourse. With alienation of affection, which is not a crime, the aim is to get compensated for the loss of affection.

In order to qualify for an alienation of affection action in North Carolina, the plaintiff has to basically demonstrate that the marriage was a loving one prior to alienation because of a third party. The complaining spouse (scorned man/woman) can sue that third party for taking away the love and affection of the wayward spouse. In one case, a Raleigh woman married for 33 years sued her husband’s girlfriend for alienation of affection and won. She was awarded $9 million in damages. Whether she eventually divorced her husband is not detailed.

Alienation of affection is a centuries-old law that is currently in force in 7 states. Like with any tort, the plaintiff has the burden of proof, and alienation of affection can be difficult to prove. Since North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, it would be easier to simply file for divorce, but perhaps resulting in much less satisfaction. A divorce lawyer would be invaluable in assisting in such a case.

If your spouse has been unfaithful, your natural reaction is to call it quits. But you can get back at your spouse’s paramour before filing for divorce by suing him or her for alienation of affection. Consult with a divorce lawyer in your area about helping you pursue this course of action.

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