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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13748
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Are any of the attorney's online in NC?

Customer Question

Are any of the attorney's online in NC?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I live in Charlotte, NC Mecklenburg County. I need to know the laws about Alienation of affection. I have been in a relationship with my business partner and he is married. His wife hired a PI and has threatened to sue me for Alienation of affection, is that possible? I do know that he has had other affairs prior to me. Please advise.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to helping you today. While I am not a NC attorney (I am licensed in FL) I see that you have been waiting some time, and I have researched this for you according to NC law.

North Carolina law recognizes the cause of action for Alienation of Affection, which is when someone takes away the affections of one spouse for another destroying the marriage. North Carolina also recognizes the claim of Criminal Conversation, which involves the act of having sex with someone else’s spouse. These are actions that are filed against the paramour or third party that has taken away the affections. There is a three year statute of limitations in NC to bring such suits, meaning the lawsuit must be filed within 3 years of the alleged act.
To prove a claim for Alienation of Affection, a Plaintiff must show:

  1. A happy marriage between spouses with genuine love and affection.
  2. That love and affection which existed at the time of the actions of the Defendant was alienated and destroyed.
  3. The Defendants wrongful and malicious acts resulted in the alienation of the previously existing love and affection.Proving sexual intercourse is one way to show a malicious act.

Now, a defense to alienation of affection is that there was no happy marriage. If he has had multiple affairs in the past, I would say what you are likely thinking --this was not a happy marriage for him. So that is a weakness in any claim. Also, if they were separated at the time of you entering into a romantic relationship, this cannot be alienation of affection.

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If you need clarification about my answer or additional information, please use the SEND or REPLY button to continue our conversation. Your satisfaction is my goal and I am here to help!

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, hit "send" too soon. Criminal conversation is a little different. It too is a civil claim.

A criminal conversation action allows the filing party to seek damages for the act of sexual intercourse between the spouse and a third party. Each act of adultery can give rise to a separate claim for criminal conversation.

In a criminal conversation trial, the innocent spouse has to prove four things:

  1. That the innocent spouse is legally married to the adulterous spouse.
  2. That when the act(s) occured the adulterous spouse was not physically separated from the innocent spouse.
  3. That the act(s) of sexual intercourse took place between his or her spouse and a third party.
  4. That the adulterous act(s) took place within the three-year statute of limitations.

So long as the the act(s) can be proved to have occurred prior to the date of separation, there is only one defense to a charge of criminal conversation - the innocent spouse's consent to or encouragement of the adultery before it actually took place.

A defending third party cannot use the defense of being seduced or that there was consent between the parties, or ignorance of the spouse being married. Nor can the defendant claim that that adulterous spouse was unhappy or being mistreated in the marriage. Thus, while the wife may have a much more difficult time proving an alienation of affection claim due to his previous affairs, if they can prove a sexual relationship between the two of you, such a claim could be successful.