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.
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 →
Clark v. Clark and Barrett, 2021-NCCOA-653 (2021)
- Facts: The Clarks were a married couple 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. Husband finally left the marital home after Wife threatened to call Barrett and ask about the affair. Husband’s intimate relationship with Barrett went as far as conceiving a child with Barrett via in vitro fertilization. Things became contentious. In March of 2018, Wife began to interact with Husband on a social network named Kik, wherein Husband was using an alias. Husband, using the alias, sent a message to Wife containing a topless photo of Wife, and saying that this photo was being circulated in internet chat rooms. In May, Wife discovered the same photo on a Facebook “weight loss” advertisement, but with the nipples censored. Wife sued Husband for violating the revenge porn statute, NCGS 14-190.5A. Husband was found to have violated the statute. He appealed.
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 →
Are you concerned that your spouse or significant other may be having an affair? Have you thought about using spying software to track their online activity? Before you take that step there are Federal and North Carolina laws that could expose you to both civil and criminal charges. Continue reading →
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!
My ex is all over Facebook about what she did with the kids during Spring Break. She apparently took some young woman with her to babysit so she could spend more time with her boyfriend on the Florida beach. She posted my little boy “buck naked” on the beach on Facebook. She posted her “babysitter—young woman” drinking beer with at least a dozen empty beer cans in the background. She posted a picture of her boyfriend and her entwined on the beach on a blanket. And to top it all off, she posted a picture of her new engagement ring from him, and we are not even divorced. Continue reading →
My wife had an affair, and because I wanted to save the marriage for the children, I forgave her. That was about ten years ago. Now, it is really not working, and I want out. The last child has finished high school. She spends too much money and she will not find a job. She says I owe her alimony if I leave. She has the same college degree I do. Can she get alimony? What about her affair?
I tried, but….just can’t do it any more….
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?