Hello. I’m Lee Rosen. I’m a North Carolina attorney and I’ve practiced family law since 1987. Our topic today is alienation of affection. I’ve handled many of these cases over the years and they are a frequent topic of concern among people going through divorce. Quite a few of these cases have resulted in milliondollarplus verdicts against defendants accused of stealing someone’s spouse away from them. North Carolina is one of the few states that continues to recognize alienation of affection. A few other states Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire,.
New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah also recognize this claim. Let me tell you a quick story about how an alienation of affection case might come up. A husband and wife live here in North Carolina. Life is good for them. Things are going well. The couple is happy. They have two children. And really, everything is rolling along just fine. Then the husband’s company has a meeting in Las Vegas. All of the employees of the company travel out to Las Vegas. And while he’s there, the husband engages in a sexual relationship with a woman from.
The company. They’re there for a few days, and then they come back to North Carolina. And when they get back, they continue to see each other. They email back and forth, they talk by cell phone frequently, and they meet at her apartment from time to time. Six months later, the husband leaves his wife to continue the relationship with his girlfriend. The wife seems the divorce and she also files a lawsuit against the girlfriend for alienation of affection. In her complaint, she seeks compensatory damages to pay her back for the losses she has incurred losses that are related to the economic.
Alienation of Affection
Value of her husband leaving. More significantly, she seeks in her complaint punitive damages. Now, these are damages that are intended to punish to send a message to the other party that the girlfriend engaged in wrongful conduct. It is usually these punitive damages that drive up the amount of the award. These milliondollar cases are almost exclusively cases that involve a lot of punitive damages. An award of damages is not, however, automatic. The party filing the suit must prove that they had a good marriage, that things were working, and that the other.
Party came along and maliciously destroyed that relationship. It is not essential, however, to prove a sexual relationship. The person being sued may raise defenses. They may say the plaintiff waited too long to file suit, and that the time permitted to sue has expired. They may claim that the spouses did not have a loving relationship. The person being sued may even get cooperation from their new partner, the old spouse, who may testify that the marriage was awful. Ultimately a jury gets to make the decision. Even if the person filing the claim wins and gets a big judgment, collecting the.
Judgment can be challenging. If the defendant has no money, you can’t get blood from a turnip, as they say. If the defendant files for bankruptcy, the plaintiff might not collect. Frequently the big judgments go uncollected. Should you file one of these claims That really requires specific analysis of your claim and the defendant’s assets. What should you do if you get sued That requires careful planning and the building of a defense. It is imperative that you consult a lawyer that has handled these cases in the past someone who is an.