Alienation of Affection

Dear JBMatthews:

Greetings. No, it is highly unlikely that right after the date of separation your wife would buy property with another man. You may have an alienation of affection claim, but you would need specific information that this man alienated your wife from the marriage. It sounds to me like you have a tough situation.

The litigation would be very expensive to pursue. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 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.

My ex-wife and I were divorced in October of 2002. We separated on June 8, 2001. Our marriage was going along well, until a co-worker of hers helped destroy it. Her attitude toward our marriage started a downward spiral in April of 2001. My ex-wife (who I will refer to as X)had purchased a mobile home before we met. After living here for a couple of years, we moved into her parents’ home to take over maintenance and payments. Her parents had bought a home at the beach so her father could be closer to his job of hauling swimming pools. Money was tight with us, so X and her father decided it would be best if she let the trailer get repossessed. Unfortunately because of the difference in equity in the mobile home and what was owed, we owed over $5000 in taxes to the state and federal. Even though I had nothing to do with the repo, I was stuck with half the bill (taxes). Without this we would have gotten money back. All of the loans and credit cards were in my name (she had terrible credit, at the time I had A1 credit), so at the time of separation I was stuck with over $25,000 worth of debt. I eventually had to file for bankruptcy because of all this debt. We had an oral agreement that she was to pay me half of a $5,000 personal loan we got in Dec. of 2000. This never happened.
As a result of this debt and pressure from a co-worker, we separated. As I mentioned earlier, the downward spiral in our marriage began in April of 2001 (maybe sooner). X was a singer in a band and she confided sometimes in the drummer (he and I are still good friends). She began to tell him of a co-worker who repeatedly kept asking her out and would not leave her alone. X said she was going to tell me about it and get me to solve the problem, but she never did. In April, supposedly a group of people from work were going to a Carolina Mudcats game. As I am an avid baseball fan, I inquired about going to the game also. She became evasive and adamantly said only her co-workers were allowed to go (I was willing to pay my own way). X could not care less about a baseball game.
A few days later, X says she wants to separate. However, after she talked to my step-mother, she agreed to try and work things out. The only thing she tried to work out was her relationship with her co-worker. It took her longer to get home in the afternoons from work and she was going out with her “friends” with increasing regularity. A fifteen minute trip home from work would take several hours because of “traffic”. All the while she became increasingly distant. Memorial Day weekend X and her friends went to the beach for the weekend. I asked if I could go and she flatly refused. When she got back was when she said she wanted to separate and be single again. She managed to hide her relationship with this other guy for several months after our separation. I suspected she was seeing someone and in October of 2001, I found she was seeing a co-worker.
I was willing to let things go, but she has sued me twice for those taxes (however, the taxes are now paid and she is suing me because I have not paid her $1500 lawyer’s fee yet. As soon as get the money I will). I guess I did not pay them fast enough for her. She has someone to pay all her bills; I do not. Nineteen days after we separated, X and her new boyfriend purchased land in Fuquay-Varina and started building a house. I just recently learned of this through a little investigating on the internet. Her grandmother died last year and left her a good bit of money (the house and land are already paid off). Meanwhile, I am struggling just to make ends meet. How many people make a large purchase such as land only a few days after beginning to see each other? Probably not very many. This and other things make me believe that they were seeing each other well before we separated. I have only just scratched the surface on this and would like some input. Is there anything I can do? Do you believe that I would have a case for alienation of affection? There is a bit more information that I left out because of length. Please help.