Defenses to Alienation of Affection in North Carolina

In a previous article we reviewed the elements of the claims for alienation of affections in North Carolina.   How is an alienation of affections case defended?

The usual defense is for a defending party to claim that there was no love and affection in existence between the husband and wife.    In other words, there can not be any alienation of affections of there were no affections to alienate.

Another defense I have seen is for the responding party to  claim that they were unaware that there was a marriage.   This defense hinges on the point that there can not be any wanton and malicious interference if the defendant did not know there was a marriage in the first place.

Statutes of limitation may also be pled as a defense in alienation of affections cases.  Statutes of limitation make certain claims stale because the plaintiff waited to long to file his or her case.

Another defense related to the timing of the events of the case, is the North Carolina statute that says: “no act of the defendant shall give rise to a cause of action for alienation of affection or criminal conversation that occurs after the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s spouse physically separate with the intent of either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s spouse that the physical separation remain permanent.”

There are a few other defenses as well.  If you are the target of an alienation of affections claim you should consult with an attorney to review the allegations against you and discuss your options.


Scott Allen is a divorce attorney in Raleigh, NC with over twenty-three years of experience in all areas of family law litigation and settlement including matters related to alienation of affections and criminal conversation claims and defenses. He can be reached at 919.863.4183.


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