Alienation of Affection 165

Can I Sue if My Spouse Cheats?

The spouse who was cheated on – the “injured” spouse – can, in a few states states, still bring legal action against the cheating party for “alienation of affection.” Sometimes referred to as “Heart Balm Torts,” “Revenge,” or “Spousal Theft,” alienation of affection(s) is a legal action charging someone with the intentional and malicious interference with marriage relations. Typically this occurs when one spouse has been cheating on the other (committing adultery), and is caught. There is another similar legal claim related to extramarital sex called “Criminal Conversation“, which has slightly different elements.

What Must Be Proven?

An alienation of affection lawsuit must prove that:

  • Love existed between the married spouses.
  • Love between the married couple was destroyed (or “alienated”).
  • A third party’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection.

What States Allow This Type of Legal Action?

Most states in the United States have done away with this type of lawsuit, considering it to be archaic and revengeful. But as of 12/2009 a few states do still recognize alienation of affection: Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

Is Alienation of Affection Recognized in My State?

Alabama

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Alaska

The issue of alienation of affection is not addressed by Alaska law (neither state law nor case law).

Arizona

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Arkansas

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

California

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Colorado

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Connecticut

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Delaware

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

District of Columbia

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Florida

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Georgia

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Hawaii

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought.

Idaho

No, alienation of affection lawsuits were abolished through judicial decision.

Illinois

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought.

Indiana

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Iowa

No, alienation of affection lawsuits were abolished through judicial decision.

Kansas

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Kentucky

No, alienation of affection lawsuits were abolished through judicial decision.

Louisiana

In 1927, in the case of Moulin v. Monteleone, 165 La. 169, 115 So. 447, actions for alienation of affection were abolished.

Maine

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Maryland

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Massachusetts

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Michigan

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Minnesota

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Mississippi

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought.

Missouri

No, on June 17, 2003, Missouri’s highest court abolished the state’s alienation of affection law.

Montana

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Nebraska

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Nevada

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

New Hampshire

No. According to Title XLIII, Chapter 460:2, “No damages shall be allowed to either spouse in any action based on alienation of the affections of the other spouse.”

New Jersey

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

New Mexico

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought.

New York

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

North Carolina

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought, although as of October 2009, there are several new restrictions, including that if the extramarital affair started after a married couple is separated, the alienation of affection law cannot be used: see ncga.state.nc.us – HB 1110

North Dakota

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Ohio

No, in 1985, alienation of affection suits were abolished by General Laws c. 207, Sect. 47B, inserted by St. 1985, c. 74 Sect. 1.

Oklahoma

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Oregon

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Pennsylvania

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Rhode Island

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

South Carolina

No, alienation of affection lawsuits were abolished through judicial decision.

South Dakota

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought.

Tennessee

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Texas

No, in 1997, Family Code, Chapter 1.107 was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Utah

Yes, alienation of affection lawsuits can still be brought

Vermont

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Virginia

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Washington

No, alienation of affection lawsuits were abolished through judicial decision.

West Virginia

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Wisconsin

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

Wyoming

No, legislation was enacted to abolish the right to bring an alienation of affection lawsuit.

source: about.com

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