It’s an understatement to say that North Carolina’s allowance of heart balm claims has been controversial. Many states around the nation have banned these types of cases from showing up in local courtrooms and have questioned the constitutionality of the states that still allow spouses to sue cheaters for ruining their marriages.
Since there has been so many of these cases in North Carolina, it’s easy to pick up on some patterns the defending party will use, whether it comes from the spouse who cheated or the person they cheated with. If you plan on suing after adultery tore your marriage apart, you should know about these popular defenses so you understand what you need to prepare for a successful case.
“I didn’t know they were married.”
There have been several instances in the past where the offending party was unaware of a spouse’s marital status. Maybe they forgot to ask the spouse or the partner purposefully chose not to wear their wedding ring on the night they met.
However, there are several factors about the affair that could make this claim questionable. If your partner has any public social media accounts, check their timeline and personal bio on the site. Their timeline could feature photos of the spouse and the third-party meeting and spending time with each other before the alleged incident and that they got time to know them first.
You should also pay attention to your spouse’s marital status on the platform. If it says they were married and it includes the pictures of the two of you, you could argue that there was some way the third party could have found out about your marriage prior to the act. If it did not shortly before or after the act, then you could use it against your ex.
“Their marriage was already doomed.”
Plaintiffs must prove that the act caused an “alienation of affections.” They need to convince the court that there was love between them and their spouse before the third party came into the picture and supposedly ruined their marriage. This can get somewhat complicated since it does rely on personal emotions and not all spouses are honest with each other, but the marriage doesn’t need to be perfect before the cheating occurs, it just needs to have some level of affection.
This defense was used in a controversial infidelity case last year in North Carolina, where the judge ordered the defendant to pay nearly $9 million to the plaintiff. After the husband became aware of the affair, the third party made extraneous efforts to be near the wife despite the husband warning him not to such as intruding on their personal family vacations.
This also led to the wife quitting her husband’s company, which lost a lot of revenue shortly after the affair. Even if their marriage was on a decline, the evidence suggests that the third party’s presence and behavior was making it significantly worse.
If you need further advice on how to build a solid case against your husband or the third party, contact a North Carolina family law attorney to see what your options are.