Could North Carolina Abolish ''Alienation of Affection?''

Having someone else destroy your marriage is one of the worst things anyone can go through in North Carolina. That being said, there is considerable debate over whether or not “homewreckers” should experience legal consequences for their actions in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is among a handful of states that allow spouses to sue these homewreckers, but some legislators are suggesting that “Alienation of Affection” should be abolished entirely.

Regardless of how you feel about potential legal consequences for those who destroy marriages, almost everyone can agree that this behavior is morally wrong. Not only can it impact the psychological well-being of spouses who have been the victim of cheating, but it can also affect any children in the family. If you have been affected by cheating, you may be more concerned with divorcing your spouse rather than suing the person with whom they cheated. This is an understandable priority.

In order to move forward with your divorce, your first priority should be to get in touch with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals can make sure that you are approaching this situation in the most effective way possible. While finalizing your divorce should probably be the priority, we can also help you explore legal options for suing the adulterer who destroyed your marriage as well.

What Is Alienation of Affection in North Carolina?

North Carolina allows spouses to sue third parties for acts that resulted in a loss of affection and love in their marriage. In simple terms, this means that you can sue someone for pursuing an extramarital affair with your spouse. If successful, you would receive compensation for both non-economic and economic damages.

If the affair led to a divorce, you might have lost some of your property due to the equitable distribution process. If you mainly depended on your spouse’s income to support yourself financially, these might also constitute losses. You might require psychological therapy to recover from this traumatic experience. Non-economic damages include loss of consortium, PTSD, emotional distress, and much more.

Your lawsuit could potentially provide you with compensation for all of these damages. Alienation of Affection has existed for more than a century, and it has come under increased scrutiny over the years. Many critics believe that it is archaic and has no place in a modern society.

What Would Abolishment Look Like?

In April of 2021, it was reported that House Democrats were fighting to abolish the Alienation of Affection in North Carolina. These democrats filed legislation to end this statute forever, and they also aimed to change some aspects of the state’s divorce laws. These critics have argued that “just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional.” They also highlighted the fact that this law goes back to an era when women were considered to be their husbands’ property.

In addition to abolishing Alienation of Affection, the House Democrats also sought to reduce the one-year legal separation period to just six months. This period would be waived entirely if the divorce is uncontested and involves no children.

It is unclear whether or not this particular legislation will pass, but one thing is clear: the push against Alienation of Affection has intensified over the last few years. There is also a growing feeling that the one-year separation period is too long. That being said, many spouses continue to file lawsuits under Alienation of Affection to this day, and the law has strong support in many circles.

Victims of Infidelity Still Have an Advantage in Divorce

Even if Alienation of Affection is abolished in North Carolina, it is crucial to understand that you will still have a notable advantage in your divorce if you have been the victim of infidelity. If your spouse has engaged in an extramarital affair during the marriage, they may be barred from receiving any alimony whatsoever. If you are the one who is receiving alimony, it may be easier for you to obtain more substantial payments from an unfaithful spouse.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous spouses get through all kinds of divorces, including those that involve complex issues such as infidelity. Divorce is never an easy process, whether it is an amicable split or there are disturbing emotional issues involved. Whatever the case may be, we can help you walk away from your marriage in a confident, dignified, and efficient manner. Book your consultation today.