I need the TRUTH about Alienation of Affection

I’m not a lawyer but this may help…

  1. Yes. These are jury trials (unless they are settled out of court).
  2. Very few of the cases are filed. About 200 a year out of more than 30,000 divorce proceedings. Reason: It is an extremely expensive suit to bring (think about $15,000… to start) and I know of no attorney which would take it on contingency. Reason: The award judgments vary wildly (a $1 award is not unheard of in these suits). They are also painful… Everybody’s personal life gets exposed in open court.
  3. You actually posted a message on the boards of a group of them.
  4. I believe 3 years is the statute-of-limitations on these claims.
  5. Good. That means that both Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation claims are still possible. Though if the two of you have been living apart for awhile, an actual agreement may not be necessary. It is my understanding that if the two of you separated for reasons not involving the affair than an AOA claim is not possible. DEFINITELY check with a lawyer on that (actually check with a lawyer on all of this but especially this point).
  6. That depends. If you feel that your relationship was rock solid and this person “stole” your wife away and you have a sizable sum of money not doing a whole lot (or you’re willing to risk a large debt load) and you can deal with the risk in the variance in the award judgments, then proceed with the claim. Personal Note: If you are in fact getting “everything” (i.e. the house, the kids, the car, etc…), you may want to give some serious thought to cutting your losses. Nothing legal in that last statement but I thought it might help (sorry if it didn’t).
  7. It’s true. The NC House has already pasted a bill abolishing both Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation. The NC Senate is due to take the matter up this session (again). The bill has been kicking around the NC legislature for a few sessions now, but never really gotten anywhere. But since the legislature seems to have decided to avoid “controversial” legislation this term (and abolishing AOA/CC is not considered “controversial”) this ban may have a real shot at going the distance. Who knows though.

I’m sorry about your situation. Personally, I would worry about my kids and myself if I were in your situation. Though I would collect evidence of the affair, since it can be used to prevent her from receiving alimony. Also, I would push hard on her payment of child support.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for your speedy reply; I would like to bounce a couple of other thoughts of off you if you do not mind. If I ask to much please let me know, I just trying to learn all I can, I

Again… not a lawyer, but here goes:

  1. You could get a referral from a lawyer or hit the yellow pages.
  2. It is my understanding that it’s up to a judge what the final award will be. Though it starts with the jury if I’m not mistaken.
  3. He could appeal and the cost would only go up. $5,000!!? I refuse to believe that any lawyer could do this case for 5k and if the lawyer didn’t mention a contingency (but is planning on one)… find another lawyer! $5,000 is on scale for just the divorce… but to pursuit this you’ll burn through more than 5k in court costs alone (especially if a defense is mounted).
  4. Yes it’s called a deposition. The information is used at trial. That’s your lawyer’s job.
  5. Witnesses alone would result in a muddy case (you have your witnesses, she has hers)… that is, the case will be harder to win and even harder to get any judgment that recoups your costs.
  6. In reality… who knows. In my opinion… none of them.
  7. If they do I don’t know where it is either.
  8. Sure, you and your wife can negotiate any disposition of the assets that is agreeable to both of you. But… Any asset acquired during the marriage is typically considered “marital property” and under law (even with the affair) she would be entitled to a share of it.
  9. Yes and if his lawyer can make it stick you would probably lose… or maybe win $1.
  10. You could subpoena his records… though be careful with the “I am sure this would prove everything…” If it really worked that way O.J. would be in jail, the cops who beat Rodney King would in the cell next to him and Michael Jackson would have pled guilty. The rarest thing, in a courtroom, is a “smoking gun”… It’s a fiction of TV.
  11. If the case had been filed already then it would proceed.

If I may… feel free to ignore the following: #6 is your best question. That’s the question to ask yourself… Is this worth it? Because it’s going to stir up a hornet’s nest… If the guy is as wealthy as you describe then he’s not going to hire some shyster, he’s going to hire a monster. That lawyer is going bury you in motions, depositions (where every question you never thought you’d have to answer in front of strangers, YOU’LL be under oath to answer), hearings, etc… The law is a blunt instrument, there’s no such thing a surgical strike. Further, even if you win, your wife will forfeit alimony, but will be perfectly able to seek child support and a “equitable distribution” of the assets acquired during the marriage. Here is an easily foreseeable outcome… You win the suit against him and she gets close to half anyway. NC is a no-fault divorce state, so her affair does NOT affect the distribution of assets (if it goes before a judge). So think very, very hard before you do this, because it’s more than just a fight between you, your wife and the other guy (the children will not enjoy this)… and if you are unable to find a competent attorney in your town, then forget about it entirely (every lawyer who read that just cringed but they know I’m right).

Dear Wattman:

Greetings. I will respond to this long post only one time, as I do not generally respond to posts as long as yours. You will receive a response sooner if you ask one or two questions per post:

  1. Yes, these cases do actually go to trial. A jury trial in superior court if you are asking for in excess of $10,000 in damages.

  2. No

  3. We are experienced attorneys. Do you really want to use the yellow pages to learn how to hire?

  4. They are taking about the statute of limitations, but it seems that there is some confusion, no?

  5. You sue the boyfriend, not your wife, for alienation of affections. You can still work on a separation agreement with your spouse.

  6. That is up to you. I would not, but then again I know that pain takes time to heal and you will never be the same.

  7. True.

I will post again to answer your other question

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
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.

We were married 17 years and together 25 we were High School sweethearts with two children and truly living the American dream. My world fell apart when she left me for a co-worker whom she was having and affair with for approx. 4month. It was a total shock to everyone and it turns out he has a lot of money he lost his wife due to someone else