WRAL TV

Before the story airs: Cheat and get sued in NC

Posted April 25, 2014

Cheat with another person's spouse, and it could cost you more than $1 million. Did you know that North Carolina is one of seven states still using a statute dating back to English common law?

It’s known as Alienation of Affection, providing legal recourse against a third party accused of breaking up the marriage. The law’s origin stems from the belief that the wife was property – or stolen property in the case of a broken marriage. A recent case in Wake County led us to take a closer look at the law.

You might be surprised how many people use it and how much money is being awarded to spouses who’ve lost their marriages to cheating.

Monday at 5:30 p.m. on WRAL-TV, meet a woman whose affair could cost her more than $1 million. She’s not the only one. We uncovered a trend that links some of North Carolina's multimillion-dollar verdicts. I'll reveal the two main things that have to happen in a relationship to let you sue or get sued for millions.

Join us for what is sure to be a conversation starter, Monday at 5:30 p.m. on WRAL News.

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  • lindasherrod Apr 28, 2014

    How far can you go back and sue the other woman? The divorce was final on 2/26/09. I have cell phone records as far back as Jan.06 where they talked to each other before he left on 11/10/07.

  • 50s Child Apr 28, 2014

    Faerie, there may be plenty of unattached people when you're in your twenties, but after that, the dating pool becomes a puddle on the sidewalk. More girls than boys are born - Nature's way of assuring the species continues - and when the music stops, some woman is going to find herself without a chair. Nonetheless, it's never acceptable to interfere in a marriage or engagement.

    If you're not happy with your spouse, man/woman up and get divorced as honorably as possible. The "misunderstood" spouses "trapped in loveless marriages" who make sure they've got a partner waiting in the wings BEFORE they initiate the divorce, are cowards and users who can't or don't want to live on their own.

    And think how you'll feel in a couple of years when your new spouse calls and says s/he's going to be working late tonight!

  • D2D Apr 28, 2014

    I guess I had too much inside info on the case since my first comment wasn't approved. Let's see if this makes it. The facts in this case were proven hence why the judgment was awarded. All one has to do is look up the court info. It one thing to mess with a married person, but it's even tougher when the "other" person was supposed to be a "friend". Shame!

  • LEX Apr 28, 2014

    While I don't condone adultery, I don't blame the other woman either. I would not give the man in this case a free pass. He was the one who made the decision to step out on his marriage. The other woman didnt' make that decison for him. No woman or man has that much power over another person to break up a marriage. Why did the married man step out on his marriage in the first place. Obviously, he wanted to leave that marriage but wasn't man enough to do it the right way (file for divorce). Instead, he went looking for someone else first. Some married men don't even let the third party know they are married. I personally, would hold my husband totally responsible for this act if this should ever happen to me. If you look for trouble you will surely find it. So, if the other woman is called the tramp, what does that make the man in this case? Like I said, he was the one who went looking outside the marriage and he found it!

  • purplerado Apr 25, 2014

    It doesn't have to be an adulterous relationship, it can be anybody who deliberately interferes with a marriage with the intention of destroying it. And it doesn't mean women are viewed as "property". In my case, my marriage was destroyed by a vindictive sister in law who is a multimillionaire, and my household income went from $187,000 a year to $0. This is why this law is still needed.

  • faeriegurl65 Apr 25, 2014

    Don't mess with married folks people!! There are plenty out there that aren't attached, find one of those. And to the mistress in the video that said it was like the wife of the man she was having an affair with was playing a game with her, it's called reaping what you sow! Don't mess with someone's husband and then throw a pity party on TV about how bad you have it now. There is no sympathy for deceitful tramps, just some rolling of the eyes and "you got what was coming" headed your way!! Now everyone know who you are, you must be so proud!!