Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

Alienation of Affection?

What exactly does the law ''Alienation of Affection'' entail? I had an affair with a man who had been seperated for 11 months. His wife is now threatening to sue me for alienation of affection. What are her chances of winning? My husband is going to have this man court martialed through the military. My husband is enlisted and the other man is an officer. What legal grounds constitutes a case like this? Who has to provide proof of what? Thanks Kathy

Asked on 1/07/02, 10:03 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Kirby Law Offices of John M. Kirby
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Re: Alienation of Affection?

North Carolina is one of the few states to recognize claims for "alienation of affection" and "criminal conversation." Alienation of Affection is where a person causes another person to lose some affection from that other person's spouse. Formally stated, "A claim for alienation of affection requires proof of three elements: (1) there was a marriage with love and affection existing between the husband and wife, (2) that love and affection was alienated, which occurs if a spouse's affection for the other spouse is destroyed or diminished, and (3) the malicious acts of the defendant produced the loss of that love and affection."

It sounds, however, like you're talking about the related claim for "criminal conversation," which is essentially sex with the married person. Formally stated, "Elements of criminal conversation are actual marriage between spouses and sexual intercourse between defendant and plaintiff's spouse during coverture." Further

"Mere separation does not bar action for criminal conversation occurring during separation." Therefore, you would appear to be exposed to a claim for Criminal Conversation. A claim for Alienation of Affection would require some harm to the person's marriage/"affection," but could be viable depending on the facts. I do not see that the court-martialing has any legal effect on either claim. You probably want to consult a lawyer if you are sued.

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1/07/02, 10:19 pm

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