In most states, cheating is simply frowned upon. Such an act might get a tap on the wrist or a waving finger. It's a different story in North Carolina. If a marriage falls apart, sometimes a judge might decide who will pay the price.
The state's unique law went into action recently when Keith King won an $8.8 million lawsuit. In April 2017, he filed a civil complaint that accused a Texas man of the following:
- Assault: An attempt to injure someone else
- Battery: A criminal offense involving unlawful physical acting upon a threat
- Criminal conversation: A crime committed when a person has sexual relations with a married person before separation or divorce
- Alienation of affection: The criminal act of destroying genuine love and affection in a marriage
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress: A claim that can be presented if one person acts so carelessly that they injure another person emotionally and mentally
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress: A personacts extremely or outrageously while intentionally causing someone emotional distress
King's attorney claimed the affair caused King's business to lose revenue and forced him to pay extra for child care and counseling. According to The Herald-Sun, the Durham County judge awarded King $2.2 million in compensatory damages and another $6.6 million in punitive damages.
North Carolina is one of only a few states that let spouses sue people for criminal conversation and alienation of affection. Also known as heart balm actions, it's essentially a breach of marriage promise. Often these cases are difficult to prove. It takes knowledge and experience to win a lawsuit.