Harder to sue your spouse's lover

RALEIGH North Carolina is one of only a few states that still recognize lawsuits on the basis of alienation of affection.

According to a report in the Winston-Salem Journal, a spouse's extramarital lover can't be sued if the couple was already separated when the affair began.

An average of about 230 such lawsuits were filed annually between 2000 and 2008.

The law allows a spouse to ask for monetary damages from a third party on the basis that the third party contributed to ending a couple's marriage. "Alienation of affection" almost always includes "criminal conversation" -- the legal term for extramarital sex.

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