Affairs of the heart can be passionate and full of love. When two people find each other and their union is marked by attraction and appreciation, they may choose to unite and become married. In North Carolina and throughout the United State, a marriage changes the legal status of a person from single to married.
Marriage bestows important privileges on individuals with regard to their spouses’ property, money, and rights. When two people decide to divorce they must work out a number of significant issues related to their financial and personal affairs. There are many reasons that marriages end, and when third parties are involved aggrieved spouses may have options to pursue heart balm claims against them.
Two different heart balm torts are recognized in North Carolina: alienation of affection and criminal conversation. To plead a claim for alienation of affection, a person must assert that their relationship with their spouse was destroyed by the actions of a third party. To plead a claim for criminal conversation, the plaintiff must plead that a third party had sexual intercourse with the plaintiff’s spouse in the state.
Not all jurisdictions recognize heart balm claims but in North Carolina individuals may avail themselves to these causes of action to recover the damages that they have suffered when third parties cause problems in their marriages that lead to divorce. It is important that aggrieved spouses understand how and when to plead heart balm claims. If adultery or other third party actions contributed to the ends of their marriages, individuals may wish to discuss their legal options with family law attorneys in the state.