Alienation of Affection

North Carolina is one of 7 states that recognizes the alienation of affection cause of action. Although these claims are not extremely common, experienced family law attorneys here in Guilford County are willing and able to handle such a cause of action.

To be more specific, alienation of affection can relate to a spouse who becomes alienated from you or to a child who becomes alienated from you. You also may have to defend yourself against allegations of alienation.

In North Carolina, you can bring a claim for alienation of parental affection. There are several elements to such a claim, all of which must be satisfied in order for the claim to succeed. These elements include: (1) the existence of a relationship between a parent and a minor child characterized by genuine love and affection; (2) the love and affection of the minor child for the parent is alienated and destroyed; and (3) the wrongful and malicious conduct of the minor child’s other parent is the controlling cause of this alienation. This type of alienation of affection claim can only be brought by one parent against the other parent of the child. 

Alienation of spousal affection, on the other hand, is a cause of action you may have against your spouse's paramour. Alienation of spousal affection is a claim that can only be brought by either spouse against a third party. Detective evidence is generally quite important to this cause of action, and the detective needs to document that your spouse has been alone with the paramour in a compromising situation, such as a hotel. Also, the detective needs to document kissing, hugging, or other types of affection. Of course, there are other types of proof such as a confession.

Just as in a claim for alienation of parental affection, there are several elements to an alienation of spousal affection claim, all of which must be present for the claim to be successful. These elements are: (1) the existence of a marriage characterized by genuine love and affection; (2) the love and affection of one spouse for the other is alienated and destroyed; and (3) the wrongful and malicious conduct of the defendant is the controlling cause of this alienation. 

To simplify matters, an alienation of affection claim in general requires a loving relationship that, through the malicious actions of a third party, has been destroyed. This is true both for an alienation of spousal affection claim and an alienation of parental affection claim. As a recap, there are two main distinctions between the types of alienation of affection claims. First, whether the loving relationship is between two spouses or between a parent and a child. Second, whether the claim is brought against an outside third party or against the other spouse. 

Whether you are defending yourself against an alienation of affection claim or you wish to bring one, the experienced family law attorneys here at Woodruff Family Law Group have the knowledge and expertise to advise you.


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