Facing the pain and betrayal of adultery often results in divorce. When your marriage has ended due to your spouse having an extramarital affair and/or your spouse has fallen in love with someone else, you may be eligible to file for a cause of action such as alienation of affection or criminal conversation.
Alienation of affection and criminal conversation are two separate claims that are frequently associated with each other. These claims are related but not the same. Both causes are civil actions that are brought against a third party lover, also known as a paramour, that may or may not include sexual relations with the unfaithful spouse.
The claim of alienation of affection is often used when a good marriage is destroyed by an affair, or even an attempted affair. The claim can also be upheld against a person with no love interest, but who strives to interfere and “alienate” the affection of the other spouse. Alienation of affection is a civil claim that is usually filed in Superior Court with the plaintiff requesting money for damages.
To prove a claim for alienation of affection, you must show:
- A happy marriage between you and your spouse with genuine love and affection.
- That love and affection which existed at the time of the actions of the defendant was alienated and destroyed.
- The defendant’s unjust and wicked acts resulted in the alienation of the previously existing love and affection.
A criminal conversation claim is a civil cause of action based on factual sexual activity with the spouse of another. Strictly speaking, sleeping with another spouse is a violation of civil law in which you can be sued. This claim is usually made in Superior Court with the plaintiff seeking monetary compensation.
The elements required to prove criminal conversation include:
- Valid marriage between plaintiff and spouse.
- Sexual intercourse between defendant and plaintiff’s spouse.
Both alienation of affection and criminal conversation claims are difficult to navigate and require the expertise of a divorce attorney familiar with these claims. W. Gregory Duke has experience both defending and prosecuting such claims.