Discovering that your spouse is having an affair is a devastating blow. You might even consider taking legal action, especially if you’re residing in North Carolina, which still recognizes claims for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. But how can you navigate these emotionally charged waters legally? A recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case, Beavers v. McMican, offers some insights that may be helpful for anyone in this unfortunate situation. Continue reading →
In the Tar Heel State, the unique legal doctrines of Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation are still very much alive and well. In simple terms, North Carolina lets you sue someone for messing with your marriage. It’s one of the few states that still do. So, if you’re having an affair or dating someone married, it may help to know the legal risks.
Filing for divorce in North Carolina is a relatively unusual experience because, unlike in many other states, filing on fault grounds is not allowed. No-fault divorces are the only type allowable in the state. Marriages can be dissolved by either spouse as long as they have been separated for at least one year and one or both of them have lived in North Carolina for at least six months.
Finding Fault in North Carolina Divorces
BASSIRI V. PILLING, 2023-NCCOA-___.
Facts: Plaintiff and his wife were married and residents of North Carolina. In 2019 through 2020, Defendant and Wife began a romantic relationship while Wife was still married to Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed for Alienation of Affections. Discovery was served on Defendant, and Defendant served responses wherein he stated that he and Wife engaged in intimate activities in California, Nevada, and Utah, but never North Carolina—and that Defendant had never set foot in North Carolina. Defendant filed motions to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion and ordered that the lawsuit be dismissed because the evidence shows no conduct in North Carolina. Plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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?