In an alienation of affection suit, a critical element that must be proven is the existence of a malicious act. The concept of a malicious act in the context of an alienation of affection claim has been loosely defined to include any intentional conduct that would probably affect the marital relationship. As explained by 1 Reynolds in “Lee’s North Carolina Family Law,” malicious acts can include unjustifiable conduct causing injury to the relationship, or even a reckless indifference to the rights of others.
In the case of Heist v. Heist, 46 N.C. App. 521, 523, 265 S.E.2d 434, 436, the North Carolina Court of Appeals recognized the loose definition of a malicious act in the context of alienation of affection and stated that the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s unjustifiable conduct caused the injury to the marital relationship. Similarly, in Sebastian v. Kluttz, 6 N.C. App. 201, 206, 170 S.E.2d 104, 106, the court held that a malicious act can include a reckless indifference to the rights of others.
It’s also important to note that malice is conclusively presumed upon a showing that the defendant has engaged in sexual intercourse with the alienated spouse. This was established in the case of Bishop v. Glazener, 245 N.C. 592, 596, 96 S.E.2d 870, 873, which held that sexual intercourse with the alienated spouse is conclusive evidence of malice.
In the recent case of Pharr v. Beck, 147 N.C. App. 268, 272 (N.C. Ct. App. 2001), the North Carolina Court of Appeals reinforced these principles and held that proof of a malicious act is an essential element in establishing a successful claim for alienation of affection in North Carolina.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the concept of a malicious act in the context of an alienation of affection claim in North Carolina. An experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the case law in North Carolina can help you understand how to prove this critical element and build a strong case for alienation of affection.
In conclusion, if you are considering filing a claim for alienation of affection in North Carolina, it is essential to understand “malicious acts” and how they relate to your case. An experienced family law attorney who is knowledgeable about the case law in North Carolina can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to pursue a successful claim for alienation of affection. However, you must strengthen your case with independently-verified evidence if you want to increase your chance success at trial. An Aubor Group private investigator in North Carolina can help you acquire court-admissible evidence for your alienation of affection lawsuit.