North Carolina Family & Divorce Lawyer ExplainsAlienation of Affection & Criminal Conversion
Many people wonder whether it’s okay to date while they are going through a divorce. There are many reasons why you may wish to date during the divorce process. Maybe you and your spouse have lived apart for months, and your relationship ended a long time ago. Understandably, you may wish to move on with your life.
It’s also understandable to wonder if dating during divorce could negatively impact your case. As Raleigh North Carolina divorce lawyers, we help people from all walks of life navigate the complexities of divorce. Each case is different, and what works in some divorces may not work in others. Before you decide to date, it’s best to discuss your concerns with an experienced North Carolina family law attorney.
How Dating Can Affect Your Divorce
In North Carolina, divorce is a no-fault process, which means the reason for the divorce doesn’t have to be based on a spouse’s bad behavior. To get an absolute divorce under North Carolina, the spouses need only prove they have lived separate and apart for one year.
However, dating while you are still technically married can affect certain aspects of your divorce, especially if you and your spouse have minor children. Specifically, if your soon-to-be ex-claims your dating life is having a negative impact on your child, or that your girlfriend or boyfriend is a bad influence in your child’s life, the court may consider this as a factor when determining issues regarding child custody and visitation.
If you date while you are still officially married, your spouse may also raise the issue of adultery in your case. In North Carolina, as in other states, the court can consider “marital misconduct” in its decision whether to award alimony and how much to award. In fact, the alimony statute specifically says the court can consider post-separation marital misconduct (which is usually interpreted to mean adultery) as evidence that marital misconduct also occurred during the marriage.
Alienation of Affection & Criminal Conversion
North Carolina is also one of a handful of states that still allows so-called “heart balm lawsuits.” These cases are not part of the divorce process. Instead, they are separate civil lawsuits in which the “wronged” spouse sues a third party for breaking up an otherwise happy marriage. To bring this type of lawsuit, the filing spouse must be able to prove that the marriage was sound and in a good state at the time the misconduct occurred.
Although heart balm cases are quite rare in modern times, North Carolina still has a version on the books under Section 52-13 of the North Carolina Statutes. Technically, these cases are brought under a legal theory of “alienation of affection” and “criminal conversion.”
Adultery is a sensitive topic for many people. If you believe your dating life may have a negative impact on your divorce, it may be best to hold off on seeing someone while your divorce is pending. Fortunately, many divorce cases can be resolved within a reasonable timeframe, so you can move forward with your life without worrying about putting your personal life on hold.
Call Today to Schedule a Divorce Consultation
Call the North Carolina divorce lawyers at Vitale Family Law today to discuss your case. 919-841-5680.
Vitale Family Law