North Carolina is one of the few remaining states that recognize the torts of alienation of affections and criminal conversation. These laws allow a spouse to sue the paramour (the person with whom their spouse had or is having an affair) for money damages.
Requirements for alienation of affections claim
In order to win an alienation of affections claim, the complainant has to show that:
(1) the marriage had love and affection between the spouses;
(2) the love was alienated and destroyed; and
(3) the defendant’s malicious conduct caused or has contributed to the loss of affection.
Requirements for criminal conversation claim
(1) there is a marriage;
(2) the defendant had sex with your spouse during the marriage and prior to the date of separation.
There is a three-year statute of limitations.
If an alienation of affections and criminal conversation lawsuit is filed against you in North Carolina, you need to defend yourself and seek the legal services of an experienced North Carolina divorce law and family law attorney because successful cases can result in significant awards.
For example, a jury in Guilford County ordered a female paramour to pay $9,000,000 in damages in 2010. A Pitt County Superior Court Judge awarded $5,900,000 bench verdict in 2010.
The history of these cases is interesting, but the bottom line is that whether you want to pursue one or you need to defend one of these cases, you need experienced legal help. These cases typically involve jury trials in the Superior Court Division and are a mix of tort claims and the facts you’d find in a nasty divorce case. Lawyers that handle these cases well typically have experience in both Superior Court and District Court.