Should I sue her lover?


#1

There is a different statute of limitations for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. The statute of limitations for criminal conversations begins to run the date the first act is discovered and runs for three years. It sounds like the statute of limitations has run on that issue. The statute of limitations for Alienation of Affections begins to run on the date that the “alienation” is complete. It appears from the a recent holding with the Supreme court that the alienation is not complete until the date of the divorce, therefore you would have three years from the date of divorce to file a complaint for alienation of affection.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#2

How can I determine what a rough estimate would be for legal fees associated with starting an AA or CC case? I asked an attorney about this a year ago and he was very dismissive. He said that it would take more money than I had (which was virtually nothing at the time) and would last at least 9 months.

Basically, my wife had sex for the last 2 years of marriage with our plumber and had his baby (without me realizing the child was his). She refused all attempts at reconcilliation when I discovered the affair.


#3

I can tell you that it IS expensive to litigate. My lawyer estimated for my part (defendant) it could run 15k to 20k if it actually went to court. That is before any “award”. For the Plaintiff, the fees could run more (closer to 40K) because of the extra work.


#4

That sounds quite pricey.

Here is how I see it… the plumber comes into my home and has an affair with my wife. Not only am I paying the guy for huge projects that my wife swore needed to be done, but I ended up having to redo all his plumbing projects because of damages he caused.

He lured my wife away from me, or at least contributed to it. The costs associated with the divorce were expensive for me. His involvement destroyed my family. I lost my wife and my children - including the 4th child from our marriage that turned out to be his child.

The emotional cost has been huge. I have had seen several therapists and still suffer. It has caused me to suffer financially in many ways. Even after the divorce the abuses continue. I can’t prove it (and wouldn’t bring it up in court) but I’m positive that he stole my dogs and vandalized my home after my wife left. Now, I’m faced with the fact that my ex wife will be taking my children to live with him after they get married. This is unbearable for me.

I want justice and in my pain I want revenge. I want him to suffer. I want him to be afraid of losing everything he has - just like I did. Even if this thing never went to court, I would love to scare the heck out of him by initiating a lawsuit.

Do you know how much it would cost to engage in a little preliminary sabre-rattling with an attorney?


#5

Well, I’m not much into revenge and have no real place to advise. I will share that having a sherrif come to my place of work and serve me papers in front of my co-workers was pretty humiliating and scared the crap out of me. I don’t know how much that cost her to do, but I am pretty sure she had to retain a lawyer and present her “case” and convince the lawyer that there was proof enough to sue. I haven’t heard anything since the service was done and a replied with my answer. Maybe she was trying to scare me too. I don’t know.

It sounds like your case is dealing with cruelty over and beyond the actual act of an affair. I see some sadistic behavior in your ex’s lover…and maybe in her too. I am sorry.

We all make mistakes. SOme are reparable, some are not. Most times someone gets hurt. I can’t imagine taking someone back that has lied to me and bore another child while married to me. Where could the trust be found again? Do what you feel you need to do in order to resolve things-but vengence never solves anything permanently. You sound like a nice person and you may regret it later for the little bit of pleasure it gave you at the time. My situation was certainly not close to yours. Mine was a matter of wrong place/wrong time of life and a lot of misinterpretation.


#6

I am not vengeful at all. I have never even googled the name of her lover or tried snooping or anything. I was glad to just be done with it. I never tried to be vindictive. I never told her lover’s family (I knew them) about any of it. I always tried to be forgiving as best I could… but the abuse has continued. From stealing my dogs, to returning to my home and busting 19 water pipes and leaving me without running water for 2 months, to being rude to my children… now he is going to become my children’s stepfather!

This cruelty must end. I have a black belt in two martial arts styles and don’t have any worry that I could “settle things like a man” with him… but I am a pacifist who loves people and hates confrontation. It seems that the only way to stand up for myself is going to be in court… unfortunately I am going to soon be committing all my financial resources to a custody battle and won’t have another $20k for an alienation of affection suit if it goes to court. I CAN afford to serve him with papers and try to intimidate him enough to BACK OFF though.

Is it unethical to use an attorney for such a thing? Just to try to scare the other party into behaving?


#7

Lawsuits can be filed for many reasons. However, if you want the harassment to stop you may want to contact an attorney regarding a civil no contact order. I would need more facts regarding what they are doing to torment before telling you if you could pursue a no contact order.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#8

What is the first step in filing an alienation of affection suit that leads to papers being served against the offending party? I’m interested in understanding the initial process of starting an AofA.


#9

You would prepare a summons and complaint, then take it to the clerk in the county where you or your ex wife lives and file it. Once it is filed, you would serve it on the third party you intend to sue.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780

ROSEN.COM

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#10

My children know that their mother had an affair with our plumber. The plumber used to have sex with my wife while my older children were at school but while our 2 year old was in the home. My older children have a lot of hurt feelings over the affair. They have expressed that when the plumber comes to their home now to visit their mother, they feel very uncomfortable around him. To my knowledge he has never done anything to hurt them physically, but they feel very intimidated by him.

My ex wife is now planning on marrying this man and moving my children away from me to be raised by the plumber. Given their strong dislike for this man and what he did to our family, would a judge consider the prospect of them living with this man to be a significant consideration should I sue for primary custody? Or, would a court likely not care one way or another about it. It seems like potential emotional distress that having to live with this man would be important - but from everything I’ve been learning about how things REALLY work in court, it probably doesn’t make a bit of difference.

Your impressions or insights will be appreciated.


#11

It is unlikely that the courts will use this reasoning to award you sole custody. You may be able to gain primary physical custody due to the change in circumstances but she will still be entitled to visitations even in that scenario. Have your children talked to their mother about how they feel? The problem that this situation is uncomfortable for your children and you does not seem to bother your ex or her fiancee…and ultimately this will not help her relationship with her children, but sadly, I do not believe that it matters much to the court unless the children are in danger.

Talk to them. I believe that the best thing you can do is to support your children. If they want to live with you primarily, go for modifying physical custody and use everything you have to your advantage. If they have not made that decision and are just expressing their feelings to you, my suggestion is that you listen to them and explain that you understand. Let them know that they are welcome in your home and that you want to be there for them no matter what, but that if their mother is marrying this man, they should try for their own sake to make the best of it. It will only be more difficult for them if you are bitter about it.
I hate to suggest that since I can fully understand what this man has done to you but in the long run it will come back around. Think about it from this aspect, do you think he will ever truly trust her???

Children are more resilient than we give them credit for but we need to always keep in mind that they are children. The emotions and feelings they have are the same that we have but they are not equipped to deal with them yet. They may not have ever experienced them before and they need our help in directing how they react to such strong emotions that come up in divorce and in life. They are angry and hurt and scared just like we are but they also learn by example.
If they want to live with you, do what is necessary to try to gain primary custody, see if the ex will agree to a trial basis while she and her new husband get settled…keep records of any agreements. Don’t change anything but get even a trial custody change in writing…


#12

Stepmother,

I appreciate your level-headed and direct responses.

I love my children, and because I love them I want them to feel emotionally secure. I want them to enjoy free access to both parents. I want them to be able to spend just as much time with their mother as they would with me. This is all I’ve ever wanted for them. I have kept a record of every email and notes on every phone call over the last 2 years with my ex wife which demonstrate my consistent advocacy of a balanced sharing of time with our children. Her responses demonstrate her consistent disagreement.

I have proof that I have tried to call my children almost every day since she ran off with them. I have receipts for all my monthly flights from one coast to the other to visit them. I pay more in child support than is suggested on the Rosen child support calculator and have always been on time. I have never missed a scheduled visit with my children in the 2 years since they were taken away from me. But my time is grossly insufficient for us to have the kind of quality relationship that we want. I am a Disneyland Dad and I know it. But that is the role that I am forced to play in our present arrangement.

I suspect that a big problem that creates trouble for me and my children is my ex wife’s boyfriend that she had the affair with. The boyfriend is extremely jealous and wants her to cut off all contact with me - and this includes the minimal time it takes to transfer the children back and forth during my visits. In fact, I am not allowed by my ex to pick up or return my children to their home. I am compelled to do all transfers in a fast food parking lot. My former wife does not tell me about illnesses or share report cards or anything with me. She does absolutely nothing to support or encourage a healthy relationship between my children and me. I am being punished and so are my children.

I am different than that. What my children need is the unconditional love of both parents and frequent interaction with both of us. I have never, and will never allow my personal feelings toward my former wife get in the way of what is best for our kids.

I need to figure out how to get primary custody. The clock is ticking. In the near future my ex will be moving again and taking my children away from me for the second time. I can’t keep following them around the state every time she decides she wants to move because of her instable lifestyle.

I don’t want to go to court. It would be great if we could settle things in mediation. But my experience in trying to negotitate with my ex wife leads me to suspect that mediation will not work.

I also have strong feelings about her taking my kids so far away from me to live with the man that she had an affair with. The same thing happened to me as a child and my brother and I are still dealing with the emotional impact of it. Our mother had an affair that lead to the dissolution of our parent’s marriage. A year later my mother married the man who she had the affair with and took us far away from our dad. The stepfather didn’t like us and treated us coldly. It was miserable - and our separation from our biological father caused damage to our relationship with him that has never been repaired. I don’t want my children to go through the same garbage that I went through - but it’s all happening…

All of this is so disheartening. All I want is to be a dad and provide my children with a better childhood than I experienced.


#13

I believe that her getting married and moving yet again would be cause enough to go back to court for modifying custody. Attempt mediation and suggest a trial custody change though so that the courts see that you are trying to negotiate with her…it may be that once the situation changes and the children are with you and he sees how much he has her to himself…well, you never know…

It’s a good idea for the children to be “exchanged” (as much as I dislike that term) at a neutral place, fast food, grocery store parking lots, even the police station if there have been issues that may get out of hand. This way, neither of you has access or knowledge of the other’s residence or lifestyle. It’s a good way to distance yourself from your ex and keep either of you from having the “upper hand” so to speak.
Also, he is trying to get her to cut off contact with you because he doesn’t trust her. Surely you can see that…

Edit: I was going to suggest that you make sure your children have a way to contact you. Make sure they know how to reach you if they need to whether it’s an e-mail address, writing you a letter or phone number. I’m glad you keep records of everything. It will make a difference if your ex has tried to prevent the children from contacting you. You have a right to at least speak to your children daily even if you do not have joint legal custody. Go back and read over your custody paperwork if there was any…NC defaults to joint legal custody which means that you have a right to school record access, medical records and should have a equal say in major decisions in their lives…

My mother gave up custody of me and my sister to my father and eventually broke off all contact with us for around 7 years due to her abusive relationship with the man she married after my father. Luckily for my mother I was very young when she and my father split so I have no memories of them ever being together. Though we both have a relationship with her now my sister has never forgiven her.

I wish that all parents put their children first, but the longer you read on this site, the more you realize that most of the time, one parent does while the other is just bitter and angry and making the children suffer.
You sound like you are very realistic about this and that could be helpful. There are more and more father’s getting custody out there and the more that try to get it the better chance there is. Wanting to change custody to joint would be a start and in mediation you can suggest this. Equal time maybe week to week if you are in the same school area. Then suggest that when she does get married you could keep the children while they get adjusted.
Just out of curiosity…are you getting visitation and paying child support for the one that is not biologically yours?


#14

Stepmother,

I think that if I can convince my ex to enter mediation then the mediators will see how very fair I’m trying to be. I don’t want to prevent the children from being with their mother, I just want a guarantee of a fair amount of time with them for me (“fair” to me is somewhere around a 50/50 split) and a guarantee that she cannot take them far away from me yet again. My concern isn’t that the mediators won’t see that my request is very reasonable - but that my ex won’t care what I or the mediators think about her plans to move again… thus necessitating a court battle.

As far as the neutral meeting place, I don’t mind it that much. It was mostly the feeling of shame I had when my children asked me why I’m not allowed to come to their house to pick them up in the driveway but the man who had the affair with their mother is allowed to come inside for visits whenever he wants. It made me feel like I’m some kind of criminal. Other than that feeling of shame, I don’t mind. Although, my ex just mentioned in an email to me that homes in her neighborhood have been robbed recently and that her shed had been broken into and several items were stolen. She gave me a guilt trip about how, if I cared at all for the physical safety of my children, I would pay for a monthly home security service for her place. I wonder if her email can be used to my advantage in a court case. I want my children to live in a safe neighborhood - not one where everyone is getting robbed.

I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you and your sister. These “adult” problems can have such lasting impacts on children. I want to minimize the effects of our divorce as much as possible. I want my children to feel like they had a good childhood - not one where mom and dad fought over them all the time.

You mentioned that you thought that changing to joint custody would be a good start. That is where I feel some confusion. We did not work out custody in court originally. We have a custody agreement that we worked out on our own and had notarized. It resmembles a traditional agreement because we took a standard, legal custody agreement and changed it around to suit our particular needs. The first line of the agreement states that both parents will share joint legal and joint physical custody. But would a mediator or court consider me to truly have joint custody?

At the time, my then-wife had fled with the kids and was living 3 hours away. She was only letting me see the children sporadically. What I was able to get to eventually agree to was a standard every other weekend and one evening a week arrangement. She agreed to it reluctantly and under intense threat of court action from me. Soon I’ll be living close to the children (only 10 minutes away) and so the every other weekend and one evening a week is possible for me to actually observe - BUT it is insufficient for me (and my kids). Plus, with her intent to move away again I need something more secure than the agreement I have with her.

No, I’m not paying child support for the other child. I offered to do it and to raise her just like I would my other children. But my ex wouldn’t hear any of it. The day my wife ran off without warning was the last time I touched my daughter… eventually my wife showed me the DNA testing proving she wasn’t my biological child. My ex absolutely refused to sign any custody agreement granting me any privileges with my other children unless I signed an authorization form for her to change the baby’s last name. It tormented me to do it, but without being able to afford an attorney it was the only way I could guarantee any visitation with my other kids.


#15

The problem with terms of “joint” or “primary” custody is that these are not defined by law. If you have an agreement the agreement must define the terms used. For example: If it says “joint physical” custody it must state the standard for that such as equal physical time spent with each parent. If it does not then the courts can define the terms of your agreement the best way it can, though I do not believe that anyone would see that you have spent equal time with your children.
I believe that a mediator could use the agreement you already have and try to get more equal time for you. If you already have an agreement for joint physical and legal custody then a mediator may be able to “hammer out” the details as far as times. My husband and his ex have joint physical and legal with 50/50 time. Yesterday, she picked up the children from the sitters and next Monday, he picks them up. It was divided time throughout the week but last year we agreed that was too confusing for the children so they switched it to week to week. The point is that they work together to raise the children separately, which is what is necessary for joint custody to really work.
Hang on to that e-mail about the break-ins. Yes, that could be used as a way to show the courts that you could provide a safer environment for your children were you to have primary custody. This is another good reason that you should not drop off or pick up the children from the other parent’s home. She could try to accuse you of this…It is not your responsibility to provide her with a security system for her home. She should have her fiancee provide that or provide that herself. That is her home and she is responsible. If she does not feel her children are safe, she should do whatever necessary to make sure they are. In fact, you should start inquiring about more time with the children through e-mail and bring up the agreement. Her responses to these inquiries could go a long way with the courts to show that she is being disagreeable.


#16

my wife spent 2 years of our marriage having sex with someone while I was at work. i had no idea she considered our marriage bad enough to have an affair. after her affair started she decided there was no going back. i found out after she left that one of our children belonged to her lover and this was verified through dna testing - thus establishing proof that she had an affair during our marriage.

i tried to take the high ground and not be vindictive or seek damages. we were legally separated a year (during which their affair continued) and then divorced. we have now been divorced for about a year and a half. she and her lover continue to antagonize me by creating trouble with my connection with my children. she is going to marry her lover this year and take my kids away again to live with him - thus reducing my visitation to only about 2 days a month.

i have read some about criminal conversation and alienation of affection but i do not know what the statute of limitations is. at this point, since we have been divorced for over a year, can i still take her lover to court for helping to destroy our marriage?