Alienation of Affections in North Carolina – Jurisdiction.

Alienation of affections refers to a type of lawsuit that can be filed by a spouse who claims that their partner’s love and affection were taken away by a third party. In other words, it is a legal claim that a third party’s actions have caused the breakdown of a marriage or relationship.

Traditionally, alienation of affections laws were intended to protect the sanctity of marriage by holding third parties responsible for their interference in a marital relationship. The idea behind this legal claim was that a third party could be held liable for the harm caused to a marriage when they intentionally seduced, enticed, or otherwise interfered with one spouse’s affection for the other.

It is worth noting, however, that the use of alienation of affections laws has declined in recent years, and many states have abolished or restricted their use. But not North Carolina.

In the February 2023 decision of the NC Court of Appeals case of Bassiri v. Pilling, the court dealt with the issue of subject matter jurisdiction and the location of where the tort occurs. The court noted that in “Jones v. Skelley, 195 N.C. App. 673 S.E.2d 385 (2009), superseded in part on other grounds, G.S. § 52-13(a), this court stated that “if the tortious injury occurs in a state that does not recognize alienation of affections, the case cannot be tried in a North Carolina court.” Establishing that the defendant’s alienating conduct occurred within a state that still recognizes alienation of affections as a valid cause of action is essential to a successful claim since most jurisdictions have abolished the tort.”

The court held that “the alienating conduct must have occurred within a state that still recognizes alienation of affections as a valid cause of action.”




Family law attorney Scott Allen handles these kinds of cases and has over twenty-eight years of experience. If you have questions or need assistance call him at (919) 863-4183 or email at