Articles Tagged with alienation of affection

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Beavers v. McMican, 2022-NCCOA-547.

Facts: Plaintiff David Beavers was married to Wife Alison Beavers in 2004. Plaintiff discovered that Wife had an affair when he found texts and photos on Wife’s phone, sent to a contact labeled “Bestie.” Wife eventually admitted that she had engaged in sexual acts with the person, referring to him as Dustin, a co-worker. Wife later admitted to having intercourse with a co-worker but did not provide a name. Plaintiff became wary of Dustin’s existence and thought that Wife was still concealing information regarding her affair. Plaintiff and Wife separated. Continue reading →

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Wayne Hopper, Legal Assistant

King v. Huizar (In re Huizar), 609 BR 482

Only a handful of states still recognize alienation of affection and criminal conversation as actionable torts. North Carolina is one of those states. These claims have their roots in old English law, where a man could essentially sue for the “theft” of his wife. Modern Alienation of Affection/Criminal Conversation laws allow spouses of either gender to bring a suit.

While similar in spirit, these two torts differ in what they assert. In an alienation of affection claim, one spouse is seeking damages against a third party for wrongful acts that interfered with the marital relationship, thus depriving them of the love and affection of their spouse. They are sometimes colloquially referred to as “homewrecker” laws or “heartbalm” torts. On the other hand, criminal conversation refers specifically to adulterous, extramarital sexual acts between the Plaintiff’s spouse and a third party. Continue reading →

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Clark v. Clark and Barrett, 2021-NCCOA-653 (2021)

  • Facts: A married couple, the Clarks, lived in North Carolina. In 2016, Husband began an affair with Ms. Barrett, in Virginia. That same year while home in North Carolina, Wife discovered text messages between Husband and Barrett. The couple argued and Wife ultimately had to be hospitalized due to the stress. More texts and explicit photographs were discovered on Husband’s phone a few months later. The photos were clearly taken in the Clark home. In September 2016, Husband finally left the marital home after Wife threatened to call Barrett and ask about the affair. In January 2017, Husband and Wife acquired some land in which to build a house. A few months later the couple executed a separation agreement. Husband and Wife at one point in 2017 reconciled and resumed an intimate relationship. However, during this time, Husband was still carrying on an intimate relationship with Barrett. That relationship went as far as conceiving a child with Barrett via in vitro fertilization. Wife filed an Alienation of Affection lawsuit against Barrett. Barrett was held liable, and she appealed.

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Estes v. Battiston, ___ N.C. App. ___ (2020).

In North Carolina, Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation are common law torts called “heart-balm” torts that put civil liability on a third party for causing a breakdown in a marriage. In recent years, attempts by defendants to challenge the tort have relied on numerous constitutional bases. Below, we discuss one avenue attempted by a defendant to bring his constitutional challenges before a court. Continue reading →

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A common question that often asked during consultations and discussions between attorneys and potential or current clients is: Can I date during my divorce case? The answer depends on the specific facts of your case. Factors to consider include: Are you separated; how long have you been separated; are there minor children affected by dating; have martial funds been used to support the new relationship; and, probably most importantly, when did you start seeing this new person? Continue reading →

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Dear Carolyn,

I am separated.  We were only married two years before separating. She is having an affair.  I bought my wife a huge engagement ring, which I gave to her before the wedding.  I still owe $25,000 on the ring, which was borrowed before we got married.  We paid on the ring during the marriage out of my earnings.  My ex will not give back the ring.  What are my options?

– Help Me!

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By Carolyn J. Woodruff, North Carolina Family Law Specialist

Winston Salem, North Carolina: Malecek v. Williams (2017)

Derek Williams is a Forsyth County doctor who had an affair apparently, or at least allegedly, with his nurse. Playing doctor-nurse games got them in trouble with the nurse’s husband, Marc Malecek. The nurse’s then-husband Marc sued Derek for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. Continue reading →

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Dear Carolyn,

My husband is having an affair with his secretary and I want to get that woman.  I kicked him out of our home on New Year’s Day when he made an excuse that he had to go by the office for something (something? Right?), and my detective caught them red-handed.  I hear about alienation of affection.  Do I qualify?  How much do you think I’ll get?

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