North Carolina laws allow a spouse to sue a third party who interferes with the sanctity of his or her marriage. These are civil actions called Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation lawsuits. They are tried in Superior Court instead of in Family Court because they are civil “torts.” A tort is defined as a civil wrong for which the injured party is entitled to compensation. Alienation of Affection torts are commonly referred to by family lawyers as “heart balm torts.”
Alienation of Affection and Criminal Conversation legal actions are frequently filed simultaneously since they both contain many of the same facts. Either party has the right to a jury trial in these cases although some parties choose to waive that right and have the issues heard by a judge.