(The Frisky) Would You Sue The Other Woman For Alienation Of Affection?
Jessica Goldberg December 9, 2009
If you ever, like Elin Nordegren, have the misfortune of finding out that an “outsider” has been interfering in your marriage, and you happen to live in Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota or Utah, there is something you can do—sue said third-party for “alienation of affection.” These laws date back to the days when women were considered their husbands’ property, so seducing your neighbor’s wife would have been regarded kind of like theft. Archaic as the attitude is, the alienation of affection laws are still used by both sexes today, in the states where the laws are still on the books.
Professor Matt Steffey, of Mississippi College School of Law says, “When folks are getting divorced, the threat of having the person’s new boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife dragged into court and the dirty laundry aired … causes enormous pressure.” Which makes an alienation of affection lawsuit a powerful tool for revenge—which, face it, is what most people who find out they’ve been cuckolded are clamoring for. Is it fair, though, to make a personal thing into a litigious matter? Would you take your private business public if you could sue the person who alienated your spouse’s affections?