Mistresses & Manstresses: The Alienation of Affections Case

Couple thinking about their marriage

When you’ve parted ways with your spouse and then you discover that a significant part of the breakdown of your marriage was due to your spouse having an affair with another individual, or because your spouse has fallen in love with another individual, you might be tempted get revenge on that person who stole the affections of your spouse from you.

In a handful of states, such as New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Utah, South Dakota, and North Carolina, you could get your revenge the legal way by filing a lawsuit called “Alienation of Affections.”

What Exactly is Alienation of Affections?

You could file an alienation of affections lawsuit based on the malicious and intentional interference by a third party in a marital relationship. It occurs when the third party does something that negatively affected the relationship of a married couple. For example, when you discover that your spouse has been having an illicit affair with another individual for a long time. You, as the injured spouse, could file an alienation of affections case against the person your spouse cheated with, or are still cheating with.

To win the case, however, you should prove the following:

  • That you and your spouse really loved each other to some degree
  • That your spousal love was devastated and alienated
  • That the malicious actions of the third party really caused or contributed to your spouse losing affections for you

Note that you’re not required to show proof that the third party planned to ruin your marriage, but only that the third party deliberately engaged in malicious acts that would potentially affect your marriage.

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Some Vital Things to Think About

Yes, you have all the right to sue a third party for destroying your marriage. However, you should keep in mind that it’s your unfaithful spouse that you had a covenant with and not the third party. Likewise, family law attorneys in Albuquerque noted that unless you reside in a state where alienation of affection claims are allowed, your options only include a legal separation or divorce.

Laws differ dramatically from one state to another, so your best recourse would be to consult an experienced lawyer in your state to learn more about your options.