A North Carolina man successfully sued his ex-wife’s lover under an arcane N.C. law.
Kevin Howard cited the “Alienation of affections law” that allows marital partners to sue a person who has knowingly interfered with their marriage. The judge ruled in favor of Kevin and awarded him $750000 in damages against his wife’s lover.
Howard and his wife had been married for 12 years but she filed for a divorce, claiming he was too preoccupied with work.
Howard began to suspect infidelity on his wife’s part and decided to hire a private investigator to look into it. The investigation proved that his wife was having an affair with a co-worker.
The “Alienation of affections” law states it is illegal to start an affair with someone who is married and to cause their divorce.
The law also operates in five other states: Mississippi, Hawaii, South Dakota, Utah, and New Mexico. The legal principle is modeled after English common law from the 17th century.
“I filed the case because I feel that it’s very important that people understand that the sanctity of marriage is important”
Kevin Howard, Greenville, N.C.
In Howard’s eyes, the case is not merely about money, but about the emotional havoc caused by a man, he considered a friend.
According to him, his wife’s lover was also her colleague and joined the Howard family several times for dinner.
Regarding the divorce, Howard said the following,
“the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face, it was like someone calling you and telling you that a family member had tragically died,” he told local WITN news.
According to Howard, the lawsuit was also about promoting respect for marriage.
“I filed the case because I feel that it’s very important that people understand that the sanctity of marriage is important especially in this day and age.”
While states such as Kentucky have removed its Alienation of affections law, it had still been operating in North Carolina up until 2010, where about 200 lawsuits were filed every year. These include Keith King’s 2018 case, where he sued for $8.8 million after his wife left him for another man.
Lawyers are divided on the usefulness of the law. While the law surely may afford the victim party some financial compensation for their emotional suffering, it does slow and tax the legal system. Howard’s attorney, Cindy Mills, however, believes the cases should be treated as personal injury cases.
“you get damages if someone has a wreck and hurts you very badly, you get damages for that,” she told WITN.
According to his Facebook page, Howard and his ex-wife had two children. He is the owner of G-Vegas Magazine and studied music at East Carolina State University. He is also a member of the local Greenville Moose Lodge and, back in 2011, ran for public office.
See Kevin Howard’s WITN interview in the video below.
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