If your spouse was unfaithful during your marriage, you can get a separation, a divorce, and potentially recover child support and alimony from them. But what those legal processes don’t provide is recovery from the person who destroyed your marriage by physically or emotionally taking your spouse from you. Luckily, in North Carolina, the court has provided an avenue for recovering against the third party who intervened in your marriage: by (1) a claim for Criminal Conversation or (2) a claim of Alienation of Affections.
An action for criminal conversation, unlike its name suggests, neither requires anything “criminal” nor requires any type of “conversation.” Instead, a criminal conversation claim is a tort action for damages brought by an “offended” spouse against a third party who has engaged in sexual relations with the spouse’s husband or wife. To recover, the “offended” spouse must show: (1) a legal marriage between the spouses and (2) evidence of voluntary sexual intercourse between the third party and the petitioning spouse’s husband or wife during the course of the marriage. This action can be instituted against the third party only for acts that occurred during the marriage up to date of separation, and any acts that occur after the date of separation can only serve to corroborate any pre-separation relationship. A properly drafted and executed Separation agreement can waive the right of either spouse to file such a lawsuit against third parties. At Conrad Trosch and Kemmy, our experienced family lawyers have decades of experience with these North-Carolina-specific legal claims and can help you recover the compensation you deserve from someone who has had sexual relations with your spouse or help defend you if you are being sued for criminal conversation.
Alienation of affections, on the other hand, is a tort action for damages brought against any third party for wrongful acts that deprived the “offended” spouse of the love and affection of his or her spouse. Unlike criminal conversation, this claim does not necessarily require sexual relations. To recover damages from the third party for alienation of affections, the “offended” spouse must show: (1) that genuine love and affection existed between the two spouses; (2) that the love and affection between the “offended” spouse and his/her spouse was alienated and destroyed; and (3) that the loss of love and affection was caused by the “wrongful and malicious” acts of the third party. That being said, evidence of “some” love and affection between the spouses, and “some” causal connection between the third party’s acts and the diminution of that love and affection has been held sufficient to prove alienation of affections. As with criminal conversation, acts after the date of separation can only be used to corroborate a pre-separation relationship, and relationships that occurred solely after the date of separation will not be sufficient to raise this cause of action.
When it comes to claims of criminal conversation and alienation of affections, two claims that are specific to the state of North Carolina, it is important that you hire an experienced family lawyer in the state. Our firm has been handling family law claims in North Carolina for fifty years. At Conrad Trosch and Kemmy, our lawyers are dedicated to guiding our clients through difficult times in the most caring way possible, while also advocating vigorously for their rights. Contact us today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.