Have you been cheated on? If you are a married or formerly married person in North Carolina, you have a type of lawsuit at your disposal that people in most other states do not have: Alienation of Affection. These lawsuits are sometimes referred to as “homewrecker” or “heartbalm” lawsuits.
So, what exactly is alienation of affection?
Alienation of affection is when a third party takes actions that deprive a married person of their spouse's love. For example, if your former husband had an affair with his coworker, and it ruined your marriage, you may be able to sue the coworker.
To file an Alienation of Affection lawsuit, you will need to prove that there was existing affection within your marriage and that it was destroyed by the intentional acts of the third party. You also have to prove that you were in some way damaged by the alienation. This damage may include things like emotional anguish and humiliation.
An Alienation of Affection lawsuit is a useful way to seek compensation for interference in your marriage.
Do these lawsuits violate constitutional rights?
This is up for debate more and more in recent years. Alienation of Affection lawsuits are no longer allowed in most states because it is viewed as violating the defendant's freedoms. North Carolina, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah are the only states that still recognize them. North Carolina has seen verdicts range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. Even though there have been unsuccessful attempts at doing away with this type of lawsuit in the N.C. legislature, this lawsuit is still used by many people in North Carolina.
Are there any restrictions on Alienation of Affection lawsuits in North Carolina?
Yes. If your spouse's extramarital affair occurred only after a legal separation, an Alienation of Affection lawsuit is no longer an option. This is because there is doubt as to whether love and affection existed in the marriage at the time of the interference, as they had already made the decision to separate.
How do I move forward with an Alienation of Affection lawsuit?
If you are considering this type of lawsuit, you should contact a family law attorney to help you with your case. At NC Adoption Law Center, we have experience with this type of lawsuit and are eager to help you. Contact us online or give us a call at (704) 861-0700 today to get started.