Limits on heart balm suits


#1

My fiancée initiated a divorce process in early 2008 but received some bad legal advice from a NC attorney who advised her not to separate and leave the family home, due to fear of legal action for desertion, until she had a signed separation agreement in place. She had rented an apartment that spring but did not move into it at the time as her first husband refused to sign an agreement. We began dating the next summer, she changed lawyers, and soon moved out of the house in August, 2009. We decided to marry once a year and a day had passed but that was derailed. Neither of us is originally from NC and we hadn’t heard of the heart balm suits. Not long after she moved out I began receiving threatening contacts from her first husband. I have not at this point been hit with one of these suits but he has essentially held their legal process hostage for several years. Our lives have been put on hold as he had his legal team demand more and more information from her, much of which could be categorized as a fishing expedition, along with 7-figure financial settlement demands to prevent him from suing me. The resulting legal maneuvering has cost my wife-to-be well over $60,000 so far, has generated an incredible amount of stress for both of us, and has depleted her savings causing her to dip into retirement funds to pay legal bills. We are coming up on the 3-year anniversary of her moving out on August 3, 2009. She is planning to insist her attorneys move forward with absolute divorce soon afterward, believing that she will have met the requirement of the 3-year time limit on heart balm suits, and that her vindictive STBX will need to stop threatening me and stop attempting to extort money from her through the divorce process. However, the way I read the October, 2009, legislation she would need to wait until after October 1, 2012, in order to prevent her husband from filing a heart balm suit against me. I understand that the legal decision on October 1, 2009, is not retroactive. However, does the 3-year limit on ability to initiate a heart-balm suit apply - on August 3 or Octover 1 of this year? - or am I a potential financial target for her first husband indefinitely, even after we would be married?


#2

I’m not a rep of forum, just been there done that. REPEAT: I’m just a user of forum!
Heart balm? I assume you mean Alienation of Affection and/or Criminal Conversation?
Your fiance’ could have and should have filed for absolute divorce 1 yr and 1 day from date of legal separation.
Whether there is a separation agreement finalized or not, whether ex wants to or not, there is nothing to
stop an absolute divorce as long as they have lived apart constantly, and had no relations, especially overnight.
The ex spouse must be served with the papers and is required to sign for them.
Alienation of Affection is antiquated. Not many NC attorneys will even take it on.
It’s very expensive and complicated to prosecute, as is criminal conversation.
Very rarely is AA used. I’ve heard of a winner being awarded 1.00.
The statute of limitations on charges for such are 3 years from the date of separation . 10 yrs from date of contract.
I might also add…unless she worked and paid for much of assets, she may not be awarded half of everything
or all that she is expecting.
If this has gone on this long, and her attorney hasn’t even obtained an absolute divorce for her,
then personally, I’d look elsewhere!
If indeed the two of you are co-habitating, then she will not qualify for alimony.
Nor would she be awarded alimony if she remarries. Much is determined by the length of marriage when
doing a settlement. Like I said…I just have had to frequent this site, due to two divorces…
messy , complicated and never ending. One thing I have learned also, is when the divorce is done,
that doesn’t mean it’s all over…trust me. Good luck. Sounds like it’s important to the two of you
to be together. I wish you many happy years together. God bless.


#3

10 years - !? From date of what contract? I’d welcome an attorney’s take on this situation too please.


#4

NOT AN ATTORNEY

Here’s how it currently works. The statute of limitations is 3 years from the date of the last act, whether that be AA or CC. Legislation back in October limits illicit activity to having occurred prior to the date of separation. Generally speaking, the “alienation” is said to have been complete on the date of separation, so one would have 3 years from that point in time to bring suit.

FWIW, anything y’all did prior to her permanently leaving the house is open to suit, and there may still be a way to use post-separation activity as supporting evidence to AA or CC that occurred prior to separation, but it is a very limited scope.

From what gullablegull seems to be talking about is the commonly listed statute of limitations on breeches of contract. In a breech situation, one can have set a number of years to go back and sue if one or all of the terms of the contract are violated. Common duration in this state seems to be 10 years. In your case that really seems to have no bearing unless something was directly written into the separation agreement about AA/CC and the agreement was executed prior to October 2011.

What I can say is this…AA/CC suits are rarely if ever brought to court. First of all, the paramour would have to have enough financial assets to make it worth an attorneys while to go through all that work. And, AA/CC suits can last forever and dredge up details about one’s private marital life that they would rather not have on display. If the paramour does have sufficient assets to merit going after, awards range from $1 to millions of dollars depending upon the full situation and the ability to pay. CC awards are a bit less. Commonly AA/CC is used as a threat to either obtain leverage in divorce negotiations or to “Stalingradize” the STBX using the punishment of making them dish out so much cash in order to get some sort of sick revenge.

FWIW, I was nearly brought up on AA/CC charges, so much of what I’m talking about here is either from experience or from what I heard from my own attorney.