Alienation of Affection

Try to keep up. North Carolina is one of seven states that allows a married person whose marriage has ended to sue another person for what’s referred to as “destroyed affection”. I learned this when a friend in NC informed me through a newspaper link that a woman I used to work with was recently sued for allegedly breaking up another woman’s marriage. Then I heard the story on the BBC via NPR.

The woman who brought the suit was separated from her attorney husband who apparently had an affair with my acquaintance. He was one of the college’s attorneys and was co-writing a book with my acquaintance who was the Dean of Student Life. Makes me wonder if Tiger has a bunch of books coming out shortly, but I digress. The victim of “destroyed affection” argued she had a “good long marriage” until younger co-author hussy “came along and maliciously destroyed it”.

An interesting twist, in bringing a suit like this, you don’t have to show that anyone had sex with anyone else, just that he or she (joke alert—I’m betting it’s almost always “she” because we know men are much more respectful of the marital covenant, I mean no one was hitting on Elin Woods) destroyed the affection in the marriage.

Apparently, people bring about 200 cases a year of “alienated affection” and the most anyone has won is something like $1.9m. The woman in this case won $9m, thus the media spotlight. I’m guessing my acquaintance, who is now Dean of Student Life at another college in another state, makes $80-90k/a year, so good luck collecting.

A couple of implications of this bizarre legal drama spring to mind. Penelope Cruz, if you’re reading this, you should know my wife isn’t a particularly litigious person, but hey you never know. Just to play it safe, maybe you should stop making movies for awhile. And to the older guy at church, yeah you know who you are buddy, who keeps bugging the gal pal to go on a “bike ride”, don’t think I don’t know what that’s code for. In fact, to the gaggle of guys at the “Y” who constantly tweak their swim schedules to overlap with the person I’ve enjoyed a “good long marriage” with, consider yourself forewarned. Alienate her affection and I WILL go legal shock and awe on all of yous.

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