By Tara N. Brewer
Special to DadsDivorce.com
What do you do when your happy matrimony suffers from infidelity?
Victims of infidelity might suffer from physical, mental, emotional and financial stress. Your untainted marriage has now become irreversibly broken, leaving you to wonder about the third party.
Where’s the retribution?
In North Carolina, two attorneys had a 17-year friendship that ended in betrayal. The victim, Christi Stern, accused her friend of having an affair with her husband.
According to Stern, the infidelity caused her stress that resulted in substantial damages. As retribution for these damages, she filed an alienation of affection lawsuit against her.
An alienation of affection lawsuit involves third party interference in a marriage. The victim of infidelity can bring action against the third party for interfering with the marriage.
This law only applies in specific states, such as Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
A successful alienation of affection claim must show a loving marriage, alienation of the love, and the third party’s malicious conduct to cause it.
Though these suits are rare, courts often award significant financial damages, according to NewsObserver.com. The paper reports earlier this year the wife of a trucking company owner was awarded $30 million in an alienation of affection lawsuit, one of the largest in state history.
Cordell & Cordell attorney Aisha Pridgen said that North Carolina has recently changed their guidelines for the alienation of affection law.
This modification indicates that this lawsuit is only valid in a healthy marriage. The couple cannot be separated at the time of the indiscretion.
However, if you are able to establish that your spouse voluntary engaged in sexual relations with another man during the marriage, and that the man “wrongfully and maliciously” destroyed a loving relationship between you and your wife, there could be a potential claim for damages against the man.
If you live in one of the states that allow alienation of affection suits to be brought, contact a Cordell & Cordell office to discuss your rights.
3 comments on “Divorce Article: Is There Retribution For Marital Infidelity?”
@unknown: How about you apply this rule to all legal contracts also? When a person or business finds a better deal, they can just betray other person and other business by breaking the legal contract with impunity. Let’s see what that does the the economy. It will just crumble.
If a person is not happy in a marriage, he or she can first get divorced and then have affair with somebody else.
If either party decides to betray a marriage by cheating, its really just too bad for the other person in the marriage. We’re all adults here if one person has decided to have a relationship outside of the marriage, well that person didn’t care enough about the other to remain true. Pursue the 3rd party marriage breaker? Why bother. Your spouse and that person may have been the better match and just face it, marriage is a risk & the cheating spouse lost what was there at some point to proceed with the new fling. Why feed lawyers your money. Take the pain, as tough as it may be just regroup and find a better quality person. In time, that’s what most people do anyway. Hang on to your $ and split things with your soon to be ex, even if its somewhat uneven. The lawyers will take far, far more. Please remember these words.
Was this law previously in other states? If so, why did it go away? What can I do to get in changed in my state (GA)? Anyone who has suffered through this type of betrayal knows that the emotional, physical and financial toll is very real. How hypocritical our society is when I can sue over just about any contract but that of matrimony. Why have we so devalued what should be THE most sacred?