North Carolina is one of the handful of states that still recognize so-called “heart balm claims,” which are claims a disgruntled spouse can file against someone who interferes with that person’s marriage. The spouse can get monetary compensation from the person who broke up the marriage.
There is a slight distinction between the two North Carolina heart balm claims, which are called alienation of affection and criminal conversation. As a previous post discussed, the tort of criminal conversation implies the person being sued had a physical sexual relationship with a married man or woman.
On the other hand, alienation of affection does not require proof that person actually had an affair. So long as the person suing can prove that the person being sued contributed to the downfall of a marriage that was otherwise a happy and loving relationship, then the person suing may be able to obtain compensation for his or her damages.
Even though alienation of affection is an available cause of action in North Carolina, that does not mean that it will be easy for a person to prove. For example, a common defense to a heart balm claim is that the marriage was effectively over already, even before an emotional affair took place.
Still, this type of claim can give a Charlotte resident a sense that justice has been served to those responsible for ending a relationship that was very important to a person. This is why if a person feels that a third party is responsible for the end of his or her marriage, that person may then want to consult with an experienced family law attorney about his or her options.