North Carolina is one of the only states in the U.S. that qualifies "alienation of affection" as a tort, meaning it is considered a civil wrongdoing. If you're considering filing for divorce or believe you've been alienated from your spouse or partner's affection, you may be wondering what steps you should take to rectify the issue - well, look no further.
To schedule a consultation with our team for your alienation of affection case, contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007.
What Is Alienation of Affection?
Alienation of affection essentially means that a third party caused another person legally engaged in a marriage to withhold love and affection from their spouse.
If you believe your spouse withheld love and affection due to a third party, you can sue that third party for alienation of affection. Alienation of affection is considered civil litigation similar to a personal injury claim.
To successfully claim alienation of affection, you must be able to prove that:
- You and your spouse had a legal marriage that involved genuine love and affection at one point;
- The third party you are suing is responsible for causing your spouse to withhold love and affection from you;
- You can prove a lack of love and affection from your spouse that was not present before the alienation took place;
- The alienation occurred before you and your spouse separated; and
- The alienation caused you emotional or physical distress, requiring compensation from the third party.
Alienation of affection lawsuits are common in cases where one spouse had an extra-marital affair that led to the breakdown of the marriage, or when a spouse believes their partner was manipulated by a third party into alienating their affection and ending the marriage.
Proving Alienation of Affection
Let's explore some of the key elements in proving alienation of affection.
Firstly, the party filing the alienation of affection claim must be able to prove that they shared genuine love and affection with their spouse in a legal marriage prior to the alienation.
Some aspects of proving this, such as having a valid marriage license, are self-explanatory. However, proving genuine love and affection can be more difficult. Memorabilia such as happy family photos or videos may be sufficient. Texts or emails displaying genuine love may also suffice, although you should consult your lawyer to determine what evidence you can gather, and in what ways, without violating privacy laws. Witness testimony from individuals such as family and friends may also help support your case.
Next, you'll need to prove that the third party you're suing is responsible for causing your spouse to alienate their affection from you. Phone calls, texts, or emails wherein the third party encourages your spouse to leave you could be crucial evidence, although once again, ensuring you don't violate privacy laws while collecting such evidence is vital. Other evidence of a relationship between the third party and your spouse, such as photos gathered by a private investigator or receipts showing the parties engaging in romantic outings, could help support your case. As with proving love and affection, witness testimony could also play a role here.
It's important to note a few things as you proceed with your case. Firstly, if your spouse moved in with another party directly after separating, it may not qualify as alienation of affection - however, it could be useful evidence to support allegations of adultery with the third party.
Secondly, if you agreed to an open marriage with your spouse, that agreement will likely prevent you from pursuing an alienation of affection case against your spouse.
Our attorneys can help you formulate an alienation of affection case that helps you obtain an equitable divorce from your spouse and gain the compensation you deserve from the third party responsible for derailing your marriage.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007.