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Quick Facts on Alienation of Affections & Criminal Conversation
Alienation of Affections is a civil action by a husband or wife against a third party for that party's conduct which deprived the husband or wife filing the action of the love and affection that previously existed between husband/wife and his/her spouse. The party bringing the suit does not have to show evidence of adultery.
Generally, the requirements for a claim of Alienation of Affections are:
Defenses to Alienation of Affections
Criminal Conversation is a civil action brought for adultery. It is what is called a strict liability action in that if your spouse has sexual relations with a third party, then that third party has committed Criminal Conversation and civil damages may be sought, even if you and your spouse are already separated but not divorced.
Generally, the requirements for a claim of Criminal Conversation are:
A defense specific to Criminal Conversation is connivance; occurs when one party causes or induces the other party to commit the act.
Other various counterclaims or defenses can be raised if these claims are brought against a third party lover. Some of those counterclaims or defenses are:
Although the claims Alienation of Affections and Criminal Conversation are often paired and discussed together, the two claims can be brought separately.
Both claims are civil actions (and not criminal, despite the terms "Criminal Conversation") brought against a third party paramour, or lover.
Both claims are commonly referred to as "Heart-Balm" actions and more than half of the states have abolished them.
Both claims can be raised before or after a person and his or her spouse have separated or divorced. But, it needs to be pointed out that only criminal conversation can relate to pre or post separation.
There is a three (3) year statute of limitations on both actions. For Alienation of Affection, this begins running at the time of the loss of the affection.
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No-fault grounds for divorce in North Carolina are living separate and apart for one year or living separate and apart for three consecutive years, without cohabitation, by reason of the incurable insanity of one of them.
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