Rachel D. Rogers| Family Law Attorney
Ashley Madison is a website that is synonymous with cheating. In fact, it is a forum, similar to that of Match.com or EHarmony, except it specifically targets married men and women. Supposedly, the site has over 37 million members. Over the weekend, this site was hacked, and personal information for some of its users was published online. The group taking responsibility identified itself as “The Impact Team,” and in addition to posting user information, they are threatening to release even more information to include financial records and addresses if the site stays up.
With hacks such as these, it is paramount to remind individuals of the devastating consequences of cheating. In addition to the potential for breaking apart marriages and families, cheaters face another potential consequence in North Carolina. Our state is one of a handful of locations that still allow for the pursuit of what are known as heart balm torts. These torts include alienation of affection and criminal conversation, both of which are causes of action against third parties. So, paramours, lovers, and even other third parties may be held liable.
To prove alienation of affection, a party is required to prove that love and affection existed during the marriage. Beyond that, a party must prove that the third party’s conduct deprived a spouse from the love and affection that previously existed. Proving this varies case to case and can include evidence such as testimony, cards, emails, and recordings from a private investigator.
Criminal conversation requires that a party prove that one spouse had a sexual relationship with a third party during the marriage and before separation. Proof for this cause of action can include not just direct proof, but also circumstantial evidence.
So remember, if you cheat, you may be held financially responsible, among other things. If you have questions about alienation of affection and criminal conversation or any other family law matter, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Rachel Rogers is a family law attorney in Charlotte, NC. She is a regular contributor to the Firm’s Family Law Blog.