Separating from a spouse after making a commitment to marriage is difficult enough without court procedures to accompany the turmoil. You may find yourself postponing any legal action because you feel it would disrupt the process of emotional healing. However, becoming educated on the options and support offered by North Carolina may encourage you to progress sooner, rather than later.
Common Law Torts
North Carolina is one of few states to recognize the common law torts of Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation. In short, Alienation of Affections allows a spouse to sue a third party for both the interference and alienation of his or her spouse’s affections. If a third party has sex with your spouse within the bounds of North Carolina, one can sue for Criminal Conversation.
Alienation of Affections
In the case that one spouse evidences that the relationship was terminated due to the influence of a third party, that spouse has the option to make a claim against any third party individual whom he or she believes played a role in causing the destruction of the marriage. For an Alienation of Affections claim, the plaintiff must prove that genuine love and affection existed between the marital couple, although it does not have to be a perfect marriage, until the third party intervened and that the intervention resulted in negative personal and financial implications for the innocent spouse. It must also be proven that the proximate cause of the alienation of the relationship was the malicious (intended to destroy or diminish), recklessly indifferent, and wrongful conduct of the third party.
Although most of the time the guilty third party is a lover, North Carolina law recognizes a number of possibilities, such an in-law or friend who advises one spouse to leave the other. Although adultery can be evidence of Alienation of Affections, it is a separate claim categorized under Criminal Conversation. Both are civil suits. Also mentionable is that Alienation of Affection may occur during a period of separation, as long as the separation is not predetermined to be a permanent solution for any marital issue that you and your spouse may be attempting to remedy.
Between witnesses, phone records, emails correspondences, and social media, in many cases, the evidence is clear. Although you may want to distance yourself from your former spouse after a relationship’s demise, North Carolina provides three years from the last act of Alienation of Affection for the innocent spouse to take legal action. This is enough time to separate your emotions from the facts at hand and to move toward reclaiming aspects of your life that were lost.
Contact Saparilas Law for consultation on your case to begin the process.