North Carolina is one of only a few states that recognize alienation of affections and criminal conversation as torts. At Crumpler Freedman Parker & Witt in Winston-Salem, our attorneys provide aggressive, effective representation for plaintiffs and defendants in these cases. In 1997, Board-Certified Family Law Specialist G. Edgar Parker won the state’s first million-dollar-plus verdict for alienation of affections, recovering 1.2 million dollars in damages for the innocent spouse.
If your marriage has been destroyed by adultery, and you wish to bring a claim against the third party, or if a claim of alienation of affections or criminal conversation has been brought against you and you would like to discuss defense representation, please contact our Winston-Salem office to arrange a consultation with a lawyer with experience in similar cases.
A lawsuit for alienation of affections must prove three facts: there was a marriage based on genuine love and affection, a good marriage, and that it has been alienated and destroyed, and show that the wrongful behavior of defendant was the controlling cause (not exclusive cause) of separation. If the answer to these questions is yes, the question becomes how much the plaintiff can recover in compensation for the emotional anxiety, distress, as well as loss of aid, support and companionship. If the suit is not successful, the plaintiff will incur legal fees of the defendant. Because the jury can consider the entire projected income of the guilty spouse, these cases can involve significant dollar amounts.
Criminal conversation is synonymous with adultery. In a criminal conversation claim, the innocent party’s attorney must prove that a legal marriage existed and adultery (an act of sexual intercourse outside of marriage) took place between the guilty spouse and the third party. The married couple may have been separated at the time of the adultery, and the claim can be brought even if the innocent spouse was at one time adulterous. A jury can award punitive and compensatory damages. The jury will consider the assets, net worth and income of the guilty party when determining the amount of punitive damages.
Claims for alienation of affections and criminal conversation, although commonly considered part of family law, are not tried in family court, but in the superior court. Our attorneys are highly skilled trial lawyers, with extensive experience in all types of civil litigation. We are well prepared to handle these difficult cases.
We invite you to call us at 1.866.567.5824 or e-mail our office to arrange a meeting with one of our attorneys. We charge a modest fee for that consultation. During the conference, your lawyer will evaluate your situation and advise you on how to proceed. Because circumstances vary greatly, we do not quote fees over the telephone.
North Carolina Lawyers: Alienation of Affection