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Im being suied by my friends husband for alienation of affection.

I'm being suied by my...
I'm being suied by my friends husband for alienation of affection. I live in North Carolina. He has told her, their children, friends and family members that he was going to divorce her after their youngest graduated from High School. She and I are friends ONLY! Do he have a strong case for suing me?
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Answered in 27 minutes by:
1/2/2013
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,050
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for your question.

There are three main elements that must be established for a plaintiff to prove alienation of affection (as the plaintiff, they have the burden of proof):

  1. A marriage with genuine love and affection between Plaintiff and spouse.
  2. That the love and affection of the spouse was alienated.
  3. That the wrongful and malicious acts of Defendant were a proximate cause of the alienation of the affections.

Although it is often difficult to prove emotions such as love and affection, tangible expressions of the love and affection such as greeting cards, gifts, notes, and letters can be used, as well as the testimony of the spouse and other witnesses.

For the second element, again the testimony of the spouse that the love and relationship has diminished, as well as testimony of witnesses such as friends or relatives who have witnessed a decline in the relationship can be used. Other evidence can also be presented - for example, if the husband had moved out of the home due to your friendship.

Malice has been defined as acts constituting unjustifiable conduct causing the injury complained of. Evidence of such malice includes the fact that Defendant (you) knew of the marriage between the parties, and acted intentionally in a way likely to affect the marriage. The spouse doesn't have to prove that you are the reason that the marriage broke up, just that you are a reason that the love and affection between the husband and wife has diminished.

Without knowing all the facts and circumstances and the details of your relationship, it's impossible to therefore tell you whether or these elements can be satisfied. Indeed, you are likely in a better position to know this being familiar with your relationship. What is important to realize is that you don't have to have a sexual relationship to be liable for alienation of affection -even an intimate relationship is enough.

That said, you have stated you are simply friends. Being friends with a spouse is not unlawful in any way -lots of spouses have male or female friends and don't claim alienation of affection. Simple acts like visiting one another, hanging out with one another (even if going shopping or out to eat with one another), etc. would not, in my opinion, be enough to constitute an alienation of affection claim.

Furthermore, proving that you acted intentionally to break up the marriage will be difficult, absent proof, such as statements from witnesses that they heard you say that, or emails or letters that you wrote the spouse saying how you wanted her to get a divorce, leave her husband, that you wanted to be with her, etc. If you thought you were just being a good friend and never had any intention of breaking up their marriage, there cannot be an alienation of affection claim.



Please let me know if you have follow-up questions or need clarification. I am here to help.

RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,050
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JudyDalton
JudyDalton, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience: Lawyer with 21 years of trial experience, Certified mediator since 2005
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Thank you for your question.

Your question asks if he has a good case for suing you, as opposed to a good case for winning the lawsuit which are different things. In NC you can be sued for alienation of affection (seducing the spouse of another) and criminal conversation (sexual acts with the spouse of another), but the suing party always has to prove her case by the preponderance of the evidence.

Of course, even being sued for such a thing is problematic. Such lawsuits can expose both parties to being privy to personal and intimate information that is often embarrassing to disclose.

It sounds as if you have not been served yet. Sometimes, spouses use such threats to strengthen their domestic suits against their spouses. It is not against the law to befriend someone of the opposite sex. If an lawsuit is brought without sufficient grounds, there are strong remedies you can take.

If you do get served, make sure you retain an attorney right away. You will only have 30 days to respond. An efficient attorney may be able to use discovery requests and depositions early on to give you a strong defense. Her attorney has only heard her side of the story at this point, and bringing certain statements to his attention, such as the ones you mention in your question, may greatly help you.

I hope this helps. If you are satisfied with this response, please follow up with a favorable rating. Best of luck.

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