"North Carolina is one of the few states to recognize claims for Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation." - Valerie Gefert, Associate
Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) June 11, 2013
Infidelity is nothing new. Spouses have been cheating on each other for centuries. However, only recently has infidelity been made easier with the arrival of AshleyMadison.com, a popular dating website that connects those already married or in committed relationships. AshleyMadison.com boasts the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.” and provides a means to surreptitiously conduct an affair right under the nose of the other spouse or partner. As reported by CNBC in their article published on May 9, 2013 entitled "Cheating App: Dangerous Liaisons Get Less Risky", the website has even created a new mobile application meant to ensure the members’ affairs are discreet. However, with the increased usage of websites such as these, the ability to have an affair and prove that the affair has occurred has become easier, creating potentially serious legal consequences for many in North Carolina.
With the increased popularity of services like AshleyMadison.com and its new mobile application, North Carolina residents are encouraged by family law attorneys, such as those at Miller Bowles Law, to be mindful of the consequences of infidelity and the use of such services can have on any future domestic legal action. For example, North Carolina General Statute section 50-16.3A(a) provides that, in an action for spousal support, if the Court finds that the supporting spouse (i.e. the spouse who supports the other spouse financially) had an affair or participated in any other act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage, alimony is required to be paid to the dependent spouse. However, if the Court finds that the dependent spouse (i.e. the spouse substantially dependent on the other spouse for financial support) has had an affair or participated in any other act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage, alimony shall not be awarded.
Additional potential consequences include actions for Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation. In both of these actions, North Carolina case law provides for a spouse to sue the person or persons who has either alienated the cheating spouse’s affections, or who has had sex with the cheating spouse. The elements of Alienation of Affection that must be proven include: 1) a marriage that had genuine love and affection between the spouses; 2) the destruction or alienation of that love and affection by the acts of the third party; and 3) the third party’s wrongful or malicious conduct was the controlling or effective cause of the alienation of that love and affection. The elements of Criminal Conversation that must be proven include: 1) the existence of an intact marriage; and 2) an act of sex between one of the spouses and a third party without the other spouse’s consent. In North Carolina, record monetary and punitive damage awards have been made by juries in Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation cases.
For any of the above-mentioned legal actions, the use of services such as AshleyMadison.com and any other social media website may be used as evidence against a cheating spouse or involved third party. North Carolina’s policies related to infidelity are stringent and full of serious consequences for those involved in such matters. Therefore, speaking with a family law attorney should be the first step for anyone potentially involved in infidelity, whether it is the cheating spouse, the spouse that has been cheated on, or any concerned third party.
Miller Bowles Law is a full-service Charlotte Family Law firm located in the historic district of Dilworth in Charlotte, North Carolina. The attorneys at Miller Bowles Law have over 15 years of combined experience in representing clients in Charlotte family law cases and family law cases in surrounding counties including Union, Gaston, Iredell, and beyond. Our mission, simply stated, is to provide the highest-quality legal representation to our clients so that each feels supported and well-prepared to face the family law court system.