Alienation of Affection Lawsuits

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What Is an Alienation of Affection Lawsuit?

Alienation of affection(s) is a legal action based on the willful and malicious interference with marriage relations by a third party. It typically occurs when two individuals are married and a third party does something to interfere with that marriage. A common example is when one spouse has been secretly cheating on the other (with the third party) for a substantial amount of time and then is discovered. The “injured” spouse can then bring an action against the third party for alienation of affection.

How Common Are Alienation 0f Affection Lawsuits?

Over the years, a majority of states have abolished the right to bring an alienation of affection action. It has become viewed as not being relevant or easily applied in modern society, as divorce and adultery have become more widespread. The only states where this lawsuit can still be brought are:

All the other states have abolished it either by statute or case law.

What Do I Have to Prove in My Alienation of Affection Claim?

To succeed on an alienation of affection claim, the “injured” spouse must show three things:

  1. The marriage entailed love between the spouses to some degree
  2. The spousal love was alienated and destroyed
  3. The third party’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection

It is often not necessary to show that the third party set out to destroy the marital relationship, but only that he or she intentionally engaged in acts that likely would impact the marriage.

Do I Need an Attorney?

An attorney experienced in family law and/or personal injury can advise you whether you legitimately have an alienation of affection claim based on your circumstances. Since courts have become more reluctant to allow such lawsuits to proceed, having an attorney’s assistance may be your best chance of succeeding on your claim. This article outlines in some detail: How to File a Lawsuit.

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Last Modified: 06-30-2014 01:39 PM PDT

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