Divorce - affair and alienation of affection

Generally, alienation claims are not recognized against an employer in North Carolina. The primary thing you should do is contact a lawyer and have that lawyer halp you develop a detailed strategy which will likely include hiring an investigator. Move quickly before you spill the beans.

Lee S. Rosen
Board Certified Family Law Specialist
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

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 husband has had an affair in the past with a coworker. I discovered he is having another one (6 years later) with a coworker - he does not know that I have found out. My question is what strategy would you recommend for pursuing a divorce and alienation of affection claim. I want the alienation of affection against both his girl friend and his employer because the employer is aware of this and participating in the concealment of the affair! FYI - I have 3 children - 8, 3 and 1.[?]

Alienation of Affection
My wife of 10 years started an affair in March of this year with a resident of North Carolina. It is my understanding that the tort of Alienation of Affection is still sanctioned in North Carolina and, further, that in certain circumstances a right of action can lie against the employer of the adulterer. On this basis, I have two questions on which I would be grateful for input.
• As my wife and I are based in The Netherlands, the affair was conducted during the business trips of the adulterer (to Atlanta, Amsterdam, New York and North Carolina). Is this sufficient for a right of action against the employer?
• If so, do you see any benefit in pursuing a right of action against the employer first? As that employer is a law firm, would the potential of diminishing that firm’s reputation spur a settlement?
For information, I can prove the affair.

Go after your husband, not the girlfriends (who probably didn’t know anything), it won’t bring anything at all (no satisfaction and no money).

Adultery is very hard to prove so you need a very good investigator or strong evidences.

An NC law was passed in 2009 which absolves any employer liability. N.C. Gen Stat 52-13(c) provides: “A person may commence a cause of action for alienation of affection or criminal conversation against a natural person only.” Your only cause of action is against the paramour.

Thank you Lindsay.
As a resident of The Netherlands, can I start a suit against the (North Carolina resident) paramour?
I would be interested to know how the normal quantum of damages is calculated in AOA cases.
With kind regards

You may pursue an action against the paramour if you can show that the acts causing the alienation of affection or criminal conversation occurred in North Carolina. There is no formula that will indicate how much you can expect to receive in damages. Awards vary greatly from case to case. The two types of damages you are can ask for are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages relate to expenses you incurred as a result of the affair (i.e., loss of consortium, loss of income, therapy costs, emotional distress, etc.). Punitive damages are awarded where you can prove the defendant acted willfully or maliciously in pursuing your spouse.

For an in depth look at this tort, read our article on Infidelity and Alienation of Affection.

Thank you again Lindsay.
I have been reviewing the entries which have been made regarding “counterclaims”. As far as I understand, if H1 / W1 are married and H2 / W2 are married but H1/W2 have an affair, it is possible for W1 to pursue a claim against W2 and H2 to pursue a claim against H1. Does this general situation change if one married couple is not based in North Carolina?
With kind regards

If either suing party can show that the acts causing the alienation of affection or criminal conversation occurred in North Carolina, you may proceed. No one has to live in North Carolina for the claim to survive. If you look at the article I attached in my last response, about halfway down there is a whole section devoted to jurisdiction issues. To quote from that article:

"What if you and your spouse are residents of Virginia and are getting divorced in Virginia, but you discover that he engaged in an affair that took place in North Carolina
Since North Carolina recognizes alienation of affection and criminal conversation, but Virginia does not, does that affect whether you can sue the person they had an affair with?

The basic rule is that you must show that the acts causing the alienation of affection or criminal conversation occurred in North Carolina. Even if some of the acts occurred in other states, you still have a cause of action if you can prove that alienation took place in North Carolina."

The article goes on to discuss more jurisdictional issues in alienation and criminal conversation cases.

Hello Twice,

Just a thought on strategy …
Does the paramour have resources that would be rewarding to you? If so, it might be worth pursuing but I would approach one problem at a time (him first her second). If she has nothing to compensate you with, then it’s pointless.
The most important thing you need is proof. Pictures, video, eye witnesses are all beneficial to you along with a consult with an attorney to get an approximation of costs to pursue your lawsuit. Most important… make sure you have the financial resources to pursue your interests!!

Hoping the best for you!