How to Sue for Alienation of Affections

Can You Sue For Alienation of Affection if Your Spouse Cheats?

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If your husband or wife cheated, would you want to sue for alienation of affection? Let’s say your husband works in an office with Suzy. Suzy thinks he is "hot" and regardless of his marital status, Suzy gets busy getting close to your husband. In essence, Suzy is attempting to come between to people who have a legal contract, a marriage license. Sounds like grounds for a lawsuit!

And, in a few states, it is grounds for an alienation of affections suit.

You may file a suit charging the other man or other woman with intentionally interfering in your marital relationship. The adultery itself is not the crime, it is the actions of the other man/woman that determines whether a law has been broken.

What States Recognize Alienation of Affection?

If you live in Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota or Utah, you have a legal recourse should someone intrude into your marriage by having an affair with your spouse.

Most states view laws against adultery or the intrusion by a third party into a marriage as outdated or antiquated. According to some such laws are hard too hard to prosecute and cost taxpayers too much money. One has to wonder how much broken families are already costing taxpayers and if there would be fewer broken families if adultery and alienation were crimes across the board.

What Has to be Proven to Sue for Alienation of Affection?

  • You must be able to prove that your marriage was happy and that love existed between you and your spouse.
  • You must prove that the third party destroyed the love.
  • You must prove that the third party’s intentions were to destroy the marriage and the love between you and your spouse.

Is Suing for Alienation of Affection Worth the Time And Effort?

Unless you stand to recover millions of dollars in damages, suing for alienation of affection isn't worth the time and effort.

You are already dealing with a spouse who cheated, the emotional fallout of that fact, and, possibly, the legal and emotional process of divorce. Your plate is pretty full already, do you really want to add one more thing to have to deal with?

The desire to strike back at a third party who interfered in your marriage is understandable, but a long legal proceeding and even potential financial gain will not take away the pain you feel over your spouse's betrayal. And, a man or woman who will go after someone else's spouse is not going to be held back by a civil legal proceeding. Morals can't be litigated.

You may be able to hurt that person in the wallet or pocketbook. You won't, however, change who they are at the chore. Slapping them on the wrist legally won't undo the damage done to you and it won't stop them from doing it to others. 

You will be better served if you focus your time and energy on healing from the emotional pain caused by the cheater's behavior and focusing on moving on should there be a divorce. The only time it is beneficial to sue for alienation of affection is if divorce, due to an affair, leaves you financially damaged and you need the courts to award you monies to help you survive after the divorce.