Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Case Law Development: Accrual of Alienation of Affection Claims

The Supreme Court of North Carolina holds that an alienation of affection claim does not accrue until the alienation is complete.  The trial court had granted summary judgment to the defendant on the basis that, as a matter of law, the cause of action must accrue no later than the date of separation. However, the supreme court found such a rule inconsistent with the underlying theory of the cause of action and with public policy of encouraging reconciliation. In this case the couple were married in 1968 and had three children together. Husband began an affair and the couple separated in 1998 however, they continued in marriage counseling and to maintain joint purchases and finances until February 2001. Thus, the court held there was a factual question regarding the date of alienation, reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment.

McCutchen v. McCutchen, 2006 N.C. LEXIS 2  (January 27, 2006)
Opinion available on the web (last visited January 30, 2006 bgf)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/01/case_law_develo_35.html

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