alienation of affection

There are many reasons why once-happy marriages end in divorce, and nearly all of them are painful. There’s something especially hurtful, however, about a marriage that breaks apart due to the negative involvement of a third party. The emotions and repercussions from such a split are only amplified when there are minor children in the family.

You may be surprised to learn that in North Carolina, you have the right to sue the individual who interfered in your marriage. Typically, this is someone who had or is still having an affair with your spouse. The legal underpinning for this option is a law known as Alienation of Affection. In addition to the right to sue, an Alienation of Affection claim can have a direct impact on the consideration of child custody and financial matters during your divorce.

alienation of affection

North Carolina is actually one of the few states that still have Alienation of affection statutes. If you aren’t sure what Alienation of Affection means from a legal standpoint, the following post will help you understand the concept:

What is Alienation of Affection?

One of the most difficult discussions to have, is with a Client who has recently discovered the pain and betrayal that comes with adultery. There is nothing like discovering with certainty that your spouse has had or is having an affair. There is no legal remedy that can take away the pain and anguish they are feeling.  North Carolina is one of six states in the country that have alienation of affection laws, which allow people to sue their spouse’s lover if they can prove that the defendant caused the couple’s marriage to fall apart. Read more at Matheson Law Office…

alienation of affection

Significantly, Alienation of Affection cases are not limited to suing your spouse’s lover. They can be brought against anyone who demonstrably poisoned your marital relationship by their actions. The following post explains this in detail:

It Doesn’t Have To Be The Person Having An Affair, It Could Be Anyone?

It could be anyone. For example, say you have a father in-law that is constantly verbally abusive to the spouse, telling the wife (his daughter) that the husband is no good, and they are trying to destroy that marital love. In North Carolina, we have to show three different elements to prove alienation. First, the plaintiff has to show that there was a happy marriage, and that genuine love and affection existed between the plaintiff and his or her spouse…

Secondly, you have to show that the love and affection was alienated, or destroyed because of this third person’s interference. Thirdly, you have to show that because of the defendant’s malicious conduct, in this case, we look at malice, the loss, and the alienation of this affection occurred because of that malice. Read more at Law Smith…

As you see, if you can prove a person’s malicious actions contributed to the destruction of your marriage, you can sue them for their conduct, regardless of who they are.

alienation of affection

As mentioned earlier, an Alienation of Affection lawsuit can have a major impact on other existing arrangements, such as alimony and child custody. Learn more about this here:

Although intended to punish the person who broke up your marriage, an alienation of affection lawsuit can have a significant impact on the outcome of a North Carolina family law case, especially if criminal conversation (adultery) also took place.


While technically a separate cause of action, criminal conversation is often central to an alienation of affection lawsuit. It allows a wronged spouse to pursue damages for acts of sexual intercourse between their spouse and a third party.

Being accused of adultery can impact alimony payments. North Carolina family law states that a dependent spouse who commits adultery potentially forfeits their right to alimony under North Carolina law, while a supporting spouse found guilty of cheating may be ordered to make larger alimony payments. Read more at Haas Tharington…

If you need legal representation to pursue an Alienation of Affection lawsuit in Charlotte, you must choose a lawyer who is well-versed in Family Law. Attorney Jonathan Meek of Meek Law Firm will provide you with expert representation to ensure that your interests, as well as those of your children, are protected.

Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form found on our website to schedule a consultation appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.