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Is it worth suing a third party for alienation of affection?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Divorce

Rebuilding life after a divorce is challenging, especially when the breakup results from external interference. Legal recourse may be sought when a third party’s actions cause one spouse to lose their partner’s affection. There is a claim known as alienation of affection. It typically allows a married person to sue a third party for money because of loss of affection.

North Carolina remains one of the few states still recognizing this claim as constitutional. While the law aims to provide recourse for the aggrieved spouse, it has also faced criticism for infringing upon personal freedom.

To establish a successful alienation of affection claim, three key elements must be proven:

  • Existence of marriage with genuine love and affection: The person filing the lawsuit must demonstrate that there was a valid marital relationship characterized by mutual love and affection between the spouses.
  • Destruction of love and affection: It must be shown that the married couple’s love and affection were harmed or destroyed. A significant deterioration in the emotional connection, intimacy and bond between the spouses can evidence this.
  • Wrongful and intentional acts of a third party: The plaintiff must establish that the loss of love and affection directly resulted from a third party’s intentional and wrongful actions. These acts could include seduction, manipulation or other interference that contributed to the marital relationship breakdown.

By meeting these three requirements, the aggrieved spouse can pursue legal action against the third party responsible for the alienation of affection. They may also seek damages for emotional distress and the loss of companionship experienced as a result.

Strengthening your case

To strengthen your case, it is crucial to demonstrate that the loss of affection from your spouse has had tangible effects on your well-being and quality of life. These impacts can manifest in many ways. Think about the emotional distress, loss of companionship or financial burdens resulting from a breakdown in the marital relationship. Medical records, therapy bills or financial documents can prove the concrete repercussions you have experienced.

Is it worth suing?

Remember that an alienation of affection claim is not intended to sue your former spouse. This legal recourse allows you to hold a third party accountable for their actions. Still, it is essential to carefully consider the practical aspects before proceeding with a lawsuit. Recovering compensation may depend on the defendant’s financial circumstances. It is crucial to assess what you can realistically achieve through the case and weigh it against the potential expenses involved.