Disagreements between spouses occur in all marriages, but these challenges often lead to a stronger bond. However, interference from others outside of the marriage frequently causes rifts between spouses that are not as easy to repair.
If someone outside your marriage led you and your spouse to divorce, legal options are available to all spouses in North Carolina. The law allows spouses to file lawsuits for third-party interference that lead to a divorce.
End of Affections
If a person outside your marriage interfered and caused your relationship with your spouse to break down, you can file an alienation of affection lawsuit against that person. To win this case, the filer must prove they had a loving relationship before the third-party became involved and that the actions of the other person led to the loss of love between the couple.
After Extramarital Relationships
Most alienation of affection lawsuits are filed after an affair, but a physical relationship is not necessary for success. The filer only needs to prove intentional disruption on the part of the third-party. The type of the disruption could mean the other spouse spent less time at home, was emotionally unavailable, or withheld intimacy from their partner because of the influence of the other person.
Someone cannot be considered guilty of causing a divorce if they refuse a married coworker’s advances. The spouse is responsible for their decision to ask for a divorce in order to appeal to the object of their affection. Proof of guilt would require repeated flirtatious behavior from the third-party and promises of a relationship once the coworker is single.
Saved emails, texts, or other forms of communication shared between the offending spouse and their love interest are proof of interference. Testimony from witnesses like coworkers, friends, or family members may be needed if documented evidence is unavailable. Proof of a physical relationship like hotel receipts or compromising photographs is usually enough.
When Others Interfere
The third party does not need to be a romantic partner. Anyone with malicious intent that says or does anything to break up a union can be held responsible. Examples of others that can be sued include family members, clergy, or even therapists. It can be any individual that offered counseling or advice with the intent to convince the spouse to leave their partner.
When to Act
Only seven states in the United States allow alienation of affection lawsuits. North Carolina law requires the conduct to have taken place in the state and the actions cannot have happened more than three years prior to filing the lawsuit. Events that took place after the couple was divorced or in the process of a divorce are not eligible.
It’s also important to note that employers are now protected under this law. Changes made in 2009 no longer allow spouses to hold an employer responsible when coworkers engage in office relationships. Employers previously faced some risk if they failed to intervene when married coworkers were fraternizing with others. Now, only the individual directly responsible for the action is held accountable.
Divorces destroy dreams and cause hardships for children and their parents. The outside party often has nothing change in their lives and can walk away unaffected by the damage they caused. Alienation of affection lawsuits provides a way to hold them accountable.
It is not always easy to prove these types of civil cases. Legal guidance is recommended to prevent a denial. Contact Allan Brandon Tise, PLLC, Attorney at Law to discuss your case and situation. Let us review your case so we can help you to get the justice you deserve.