Alienation of Affection

By April 15, 2020Divorce

Everything seems to be going well with the marriage. Then one day, what you believed to be true, isn’t.  Your spouse is cheating on you.  The anger and betrayal you feel are all normal. So is the desire to make the paramour or other person pay. And it’s easy to assume that the affair must have been the other person’s entire fault.

Alienation of Affection is one instance where just because something is immoral, a court may not see it as illegal. It’s important to consider, however, the cost vs. the outcome.

Utah is one of the few states that still allow you to bring legal action against those who broke up the marriage. These cases are difficult to litigate, but just because you CAN sue SHOULD you? The cost to litigate when compared to the likelihood that you will prevail need to be carefully considered. In order to prevail, the following should be considered.

It’s important to keep in mind that such suits can only be brought against the person who contributed to the demise of the marriage.

Litigating an Alienation of Affection case can be both difficult, costly and time consuming.

  1. The marriage was otherwise a happy, functional relationship.[1]
  2. The defendant willfully, knowingly and intentionally interfered with a happy marriage

Proof is required that the offended spouse has lost comfort, society and consortium (loss of physical relations) as a result.

  1. You must prove that the offending party acted with malice.
  2. You also have to prove damages.

Proving the marriage was a happy one is largely a matter of opinion. The offended party may have believed all was well. But the offending party may have a very different view. Proving the marriage was happy under these circumstances can be very difficult and a lot of the time is he said she said.

You must prove the defendant willfully and intentionally interfered with the marriage. For example, if the defendant knew the party was happily married, and acted to break up the marriage anyway, the second point is made. However, the third party can simply claim ignorance regarding the state of the marriage.

Even if both parties are happy, affection can be alienated through the insidious acts of a third party. The promise of escape from a humdrum routine of marriage with the excitement of something new and forbidden is enticing and hard to resist.

If marital funds are used to court the paramour, it can prove costly and the offended spouse can claim the loss. If a divorce is a result, loss of comfort be proven and loss of consortium can also be addressed, though this can be difficult to prove.

If a paramour vindictively and maliciously creates hardship, willingly and knowingly, malice could be demonstrated. But proving it is another matter.

So, if you have a case, is it worth pursuing? These cases are long and drawn out, further reducing your funds. It’s difficult to prove the options of other people. Just because you’re married, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you and your spouse are in love. Sometimes the cost of pursing the lawsuit with  a  low chance of prevailing is to  be carefully and you may decide it isn’t worth pursuing.

Further, Alienation of Affection are Civil Lawsuits.  These lawsuits are brought in Civil court not in Family court.  Therefore, you want to speak with an attorney that actually practices in Civil Court.  A family attorney is not going to have as much experience in civil court as an civil litigator.  However, if you are filing an Alienation of Affection Lawsuit, most likely you are going to be filing for divorce as well and Coillaw would be happy to help with that.

Get a Utah Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering DIVORCE, and have questions regarding your case, CoilLaw can help. Jill Coil, managing partner or CoilLaw has years of experience and can give you a realistic idea concerning your case. She can review your case and give you a realistic view of what to expect in a divorce case. Please reach out to our office to schedule a consultation via video conference or telephone.  If you want a recommendation to a Civil Litigation attorney for Alienation of Affection Law Suit we would be happy to give one.