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What is Criminal Conversation?

Author: Stephen Corby

Criminal conversation is another word for adultery.


Who can I sue for criminal conversation?

Unlike alienation of affection, criminal conversation cause of action can only be brought against the third party (the cheating spouse’s lover).


What do I need to prove criminal conversation?

The elements of criminal conversation are (1) an actual marriage between the spouses; and (2) sexual intercourse with a third party. Although criminal conversation and alienation of affection are similar, it differs in that it requires a voluntary sexual act and not just interference. The most difficult aspect of this cause of action is that the plaintiff must prove that sexual intercourse occurred between the defendant and cheating spouse. Direct evidence is not necessary but is always the strongest evidence. Examples of direct evidence include pictures and videos. Circumstantial evidence is enough if the parties’ guilt can be reasonably inferred.


What are the similarities between alienation of affection and criminal conversation?

Both actions can only be brought within 3 years after the interference or adultery took please. This means that if 3 years have passed since the event or events in question, you may no longer sue a third party for either claim. Additionally, any interference or sexual intercourse AFTER the date of separation cannot be used as the basis of the lawsuit.


If you are thinking about pursuing an alienation of affection or criminal conversation lawsuit against a third party, it is very important to contact an attorney. Sometimes, there are complex jurisdictional issues that can prevent the case from being heard. Additionally, if the lawsuit does not settle and ends up going to trial, you will need an attorney to represent you and to produce evidence on your behalf.

If you are the defendant in an alienation of affection and/or criminal conversation lawsuit, it is even more important to contact an attorney. If the lawsuit is successful, you could find yourself owing a significant amount of money to the plaintiff. The Law Office of Stephen M. Corby has experience with these issues and can represent you in either bringing the lawsuit or defending against one.



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Copyright © 2014 Law Office of Stephen M. Corby, PLLC.

The Law Office of Stephen M. Corby provides this website and information regarding North Carolina divorce topics including separation agreements, equitable distribution, visitation, child support, spousal support and annulments as an informational resource. While we hope you find the information and content helpful, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of information or content in this website without seeking legal counsel from a competent attorney who is licensed in North Carolina and is informed of the specific facts and circumstances of your legal situation.

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