North Carolina is one of seven states in the U.S. with laws relating to criminal conversation/alienation of affection. While both differ in terms of the action committed by another person outside the marriage, they both involve instances in which a third party creates emotional damage within the marital relationship and potential monetary damages to the aggrieved party (innocent spouse).
Alienation of Affection
In alienation of affection cases, the defendant maliciously and wrongfully alienates the plaintiff from his or her spouse. In these cases, the responsibility of securing evidence falls on the plaintiff, and three conditions must be met:
- A genuine relationship between the spouses existed, and they were married.
- The relationship between the plaintiff and his or her spouse was diminished or destroyed in some way by the defendant.
- The defendant committed wrongful, malicious actions, and these actions must have occurred before the plaintiff and his or her spouse physically separated.
Criminal conversation refers to sexual intercourse that occurred between a married person and a third party within the duration of a marriage. Like with alienation of affection cases, the plaintiff is responsible for gathering evidence that proves an affair occurred. There are also two conditions that must be met:
- The defendant had sexual intercourse with the spouse of the plaintiff during the marriage.
- The sexual intercourse occurred prior to the separation of the spouse and the plaintiff.
The defendant in these cases does not have to be aware that the plaintiff’s spouse was married at the time of the affair, and even a single event between the plaintiff’s spouse and the defendant qualifies the plaintiff to recover damages. Unlike alienation of affection cases, it does not matter if the relationship between the plaintiff and his or her spouse at the time of the affair was accompanied by affection and love.
Consult an Attorney
When seeking damages for criminal conversation/alienation of affection, it is critical you have an attorney guiding this process on your behalf. Contact us at GPS Law Group today to discuss your claim and to find out more about how our reputable firm can help you acquire the compensation you deserve.