Adultry or Not?

Because it’s North Carolina and you’re not divorced, you could both be subject to charges of alienation of affection.

Would the answer be the same if both parties have been separated and living in separate home for more than a year ? If yes and you want to look at such a charge then what are the chances of it doing anything to the final agreement ?

How would there be alienation of affection charges if the man and his wife are already separated? If you came into the picture after they separated then the wife would have no claim of alienation of affection because they are already separated. You did not interfere in their marriage. She did not intefere in the marriage and break the two of them apart. As far as the adultery, if you two engage in sex then it would be considered adultery, not if you two are just seeing eachother. That would be the only part I would wait for until the divorce is final. This is just my take on it.

So what you are saying is that due to being more than a year separated but not divorced it does not matter since it has been more than a year. The bad is that it is my wife now seeing someone and I have now idea what they are doing or not doing other than I know they are dating. Not a great deal of fun.

There is no such thing as legal separation. You are separated the day that you begin living separate and apart from your spouse. If it’s been over a year, file for divorce unless there is a change of reconciliation. Adultery is defined as having sex with someone other than your spouse, if you are separated, you are still married. If the relationship started as the couple were separating, or before, there could be charges of Alienation of Affection looked at if the other party has proof of a viable marriage and can show that you were the cause of the separation. If the relationship started after the date of separation then as long as you are not having a sexual relationship that can be proven,(pictures, confessions, etc.), then there is really nothing wrong with it. You do not have to spend a year alone without companionship to get divorced but it’s a good idea that that year be spent with concentration being put on yourself and or the children if any are involved. Make sure your protected financially, and figure out where you are in your life and what you want the next relationship to be. It’s an emotional time whether that is admitted or not so do not be fooled into thinking that this person that you met is not going through a traumatic event in his life even if the separation is amicable.
FYI, adultery IS illegal in NC but it is a misdemeanor and is rarely prosecuted. The courts can be swayed by it if children are involved because of the morality of the issue as well as the legality.
You should advise him to get a separation agreement though to protect himself. From experience, things seem to change once the other person finds out there’s a 3rd party involved and things can get ugly. If things do get ugly then what was orginally agreed on at the time of separation may change drastically. Especially if one of the parties did not want the marriage to end or there are children involved. Just my opinion. I met my husband just a month or so after his separation and it was UGLEE when she found out. She left him because she was seeing someone else and still told everyone that he threw her out so he could move me in to raise her children. Though our marriage and relationship is better than I could have ever hoped for, we had our share of difficult times due to his ex being so vindictive. Their separation was amicable up until she found out about me. Just a friendly warning…
Good luck and keep us posted.

Thanks for all of the feed back this is very helpful… Just to clearify I am not married. We are not having a sexual relationship. We are right now just wanting to spend more time together and I certainly dont want to make things worse for him. I have heard stories like “Stepmother’s”. I am glad to hear things worked out for you “Stepmother”. That is encouraging!! WOW… What a new concept… a relationship for a whole year with out sex… gosh…I guess that would be a true test for a relationship… LOL… So I guess what I have heard you all say as long as we keep it friendly, no sex, then its not adultry.

[i]Originally posted by Harrods[/i] [br]WOW.. What a new concept.. a relationship for a whole year with out sex.. gosh..I guess that would be a true test for a relationship.. LOL.. So I guess what I have heard you all say as long as we keep it friendly, no sex, then its not adultry.

It’s unrealistic to think that adults in this day and age are going to “date” for a year without being intimate, the courts know this also. Just make sure that IF you do take the relationship to that level you are aware of his STBX’s possible reaction and that there could be consequences if the matter is pushed.
My husband and I were together for several months before we were intimate. We had plenty to deal with during this time with his ex threatening me and acting psychotic. She was on her 2nd boyfriend by this time and it seemed to really make her angry that after bragging to him about being sexually active she couldn’t get him to admit the same. Then it really made her angry when her attorney told her that she gave him her consent so there was nothing she could do if he did admit it. In trying to get him to admit that he and I had had sex she said, “I don’t care if you are having sex with her because I’ve been sleeping with someone else for a while. You can have sex with 1/2 the county for all I care.” He didn’t answer this and he had this conversation recorded. In the unlikely event that it would have been prosecuted, it would be that she gave her consent for him to have a sexual relationship outside of the marriage, but he did not give her his consent. What really made us feel good about the whole thing was at the time we had not yet been intimate, so he could have testified in court that we had not been intimate until his STBX had given her consent. It almost always turns out that playing by the rules gets you nowhere…but sometimes it does work out for the best.

Legally there is no problem with dating someone who is separated, just be careful of what is seen in public, what can be proved, and in my own opinion, if there are children involved, take a little extra time with the decision to carry the relationship to that level.

Dear Harrods:

Greetings. Adultery is having sex with someone that is not your spouse when you are legally married. Being separated does not give someone the right to break the law and have sex with someone other than their spouse. Hope that helps answer your question. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

301 McCullough Drive Suite 510
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

I have met a man who I would like to date. He and his wife are seperated. They live in seperate homes. They do not have a seperation agreement. Would it be considered adultry to date the person before the one year and one day is up? He had not even considered that it would be adultry until I showed him your web site. Now we both would like to know the answer. By the way… thanks for your web site. I hope that I never need your services but I have told several people about your firm and web site. Thanks again.