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Domestic Torts In NC

Alienation of Affections

With this cause of action, you must prove the following:

  1. (i) you and your spouse were happily married and shared a genuine love and affection for one another;
  2. (ii) the love and affection was alienated and destroyed;
  3. (iii) the loss of love and affection was caused by the wrongful and malicious acts of a 3rd party.

This type of claim is usually brought by the innocent spouse against the paramour of the guilty spouse and does not require proof of adultery. The claim can be brought against any third party, not necessarily a paramour. For example, a claim could be made against a mother-in-law or a friend of your spouse. Furthermore, telephone calls and emails may be sufficient to subject a non-resident to the jurisdiction of the North Carolina courts for purposes of this cause of action.

Criminal Conversation

Unlike alienation of affections, a criminal conversion action does in fact require sexual intercourse between your spouse and a third party. Sexual intercourse can be proven by circumstantial evidence of “opportunity” and “inclination” to have sexual intercourse or by way of admission. For this cause of action, you must prove the following:

  1. (i) marriage between the spouses; and
  2. (ii) evidence of sexual relations between your spouse and a third party. (Note that the evidence of sexual relations must have occurred prior to the physical separation of you and your spouse.)

In North Carolina, the standard test for circumstantial proof of adultery requires proof of inclination and opportunity. The statute of limitations for the claims of alienation of affections and criminal conversation is three years. The statute of limitations begins to run from the last act of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action. There are many issues to evaluate prior to pursuing such claims and consulting with us, if you believe you may have such a claim, is recommended.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Violence

In North Carolina, domestic violence claims can apply to married, separated, divorced, and non-married couples. NC Gen. Statute 50-B allows domestic violence victims to seek an order of protection. Actions can only be filed against persons with whom the victim has, or has had, a family-type of relationship (e.g.; current or former spouse, persons of the opposite sex with whom you've had a live-in relationship, parent, etc.) Criminal actions are often initiated by the state of North Carolina on behalf of the victim in conjunction with the domestic violence claim. Warren & Warren, P.A. can assist with those that initiate a legitimate, justified claim or defend those whom these claims have been filed against. The North Carolina domestic violence statutes cover the following acts: (i) attempting or intentionally causing bodily injury; (ii) placing another person in fear of immediate and serious bodily harm; (iii) continued harassment that causes substantial emotional distress; or (iv) committing a sexual offense against the aggrieved party or the aggrieved party’s minor child.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

In North Carolina, a party is liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress where you can prove: (i) the defendant engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct; (ii) the conduct was intended to cause severe emotional distress to you; (iii) the defendant’s conduct did in fact cause severe emotional distress to you. Because plaintiff has to prove intentional actions, the defendant is liable for injuries proximately caused by the conduct, regardless of whether the defendant could have foreseen these injuries. It must be emphasized that the conduct of the defendant must be more than simply bothersome, insulting, or offensive. The effect on the plaintiff must also be extreme and so severe as to have a disabling effect on the plaintiff. To prove this effect would likely require expert testimony by trained professionals to prove a severe, disabling emotional or mental condition. Proving this action requires the plaintiff to meet a very high burden of proof and cannot simply be proven by a showing of temporary anxiety, fear, or disappointment.