The Particulars Of Divorce Law In Charlotte

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The grounds for a divorce lawsuit in North Carolina include the spouse becoming involved in extramarital affairs and circumstances where the actions of a third party have led to a divorce or instability within the marriage. Alienation of affection and criminal conversation are the terms applied when the actions of a third party threaten the stability of a marriage and North Carolina is one of a handful of states that recognizes this as grounds for a plaintiff to recover monetary damages. The actions of a third party, if found to have been destructive to the marriage, are deemed to be the cause that leads to losses by the innocent spouse and are therefore covered under the law.

Criminal conversation claims allege sexual intercourse between the guilty spouse and the third party, who is the defendant and make provisions for awards for injury and loss to the innocent party. It is the act of intercourse, when proven in a court of law, that is recognized as unlawful and referred to as criminal conversation in North Carolina. There are several conditions that must be met for the plaintiff to recover damages under the law. It must be proven that: 1. There was actual sexual intercourse that occurred between the guilty spouse and the defendant. 2. The plaintiff was lawfully married to the guilty spouse. 3. The actions of the affair occurred within the statute of limitations for acts of this kind; which is 3 years. The only acceptable defense to a claim of criminal conversations is if consent by the plaintiff to sexual intercourse outside the marriage can be proven. Valid defenses do not include ignorance, seduction by the third party, separation of spouses or marital unrest.

It can be more troublesome to prove alienation of affection than criminal conversation. Alienation of affection cases must prove that the defendant, or third party, has deliberately behaved in a way that caused the alienation of the innocent spouse from the affections of the guilty spouse. Because this type of complaint does not need proof of sexual intercourse between parties, it is not limited to adulterous affairs and can be filed against anyone, such as family members, clergy or previous relations that intentionally try to end a lawful marriage. The elements of a successful alienation of affection case must include proof that: 1. There was a lawful and loving marriage. 2. The innocent spouse suffered loss resulting from the loss of that affection. 3. That the defendant was deliberately trying to end the marriage. It is not necessary to prove sexual intercourse between the parties to file this claim, but the presence of the act can add weight to the plaintiff's argument. Alienation of affection claims must also be filed within the 3 year statute of limitations.

Innocent spouses in North Carolina have enjoyed a legal system which has been sympathetic to their cause. It is not unheard of for jurors in North Carolina to have recommended awards of $1 million dollars or more. However, average awards in the tens of thousands are more typical.

Article was written by Patrick OShea and intended use for Charlotte Divorce Attorney and Charlotte Divorce Lawyers

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