Heart balm claims remain alive and well in very few states. North Carolina is one of a small handful that has such a doctrine in effect.
The concept of heart balm torts came about way back in history when women were still thought of as belonging to their husbands. A person’s moral character often became part of the public discourse in the courtroom. While many jurisdictions have done away with the heart balm doctrine, many North Carolina residents still call upon it when filing their legal cases.
The plaintiffs or divorce petitioners most apt to call upon this age-old legal doctrine are those husbands or wives that believe that the person that their spouse committed adultery with caused them some kind of loss.
Divorce petitioners who call upon this doctrine often go into great detail about the alienation of affection that they’ve suffered at the hands of their spouse’s paramour. They frequently detail how they don’t believe that their marriage would have become irretrievably broken had it not been for their husband or wife’s outside love interest coming into the picture and taking that away from them.
If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant had a sexual relationship with their spouse while they were still married, then the third-party love interest may be exposed to some additional liability.
There have been many cases that have come before the higher courts in recent years where defendants have challenged the constitutionality of having a heart balm doctrine in place. The last time that the Court of Appeals was asked to reevaluate the constitutionality of the doctrine here in North Carolina was in 2017. It’s then that the court decided that heart balm claims aren’t facially unconstitutional.
Adultery is one of the many different factors that couples often cite when seeking to get divorced. You may be eligible to file a heart balm claim yourself here in Charlotte if you believe that you could have easily worked through your marriage problems with your spouse had they not opened up the door to a third-party love interest in the first place.