Alienation of affection(s) is a legal action, a tort based on willful and malicious interference with marriage relations by a third party. The elements constituting the cause of action are wrongful conduct of the defendant, plaintiff’s loss of affection or consortium of spouse, and a causal connection between the two. Not all states recognize the right to bring an alienation of affections action. It is usually viewed as not being relevant or easily applied in modern society.

States plus D.C. which have statutorily (i.e. by legislation) abolished alienation of affection:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States which have judicially (i.e. by court ruling) abolished alienation of affection:

  • Idaho (1986)
  • Iowa (1981)
  • Kentucky (1992)
  • South Carolina (1992)
  • Washington (1980)

States in which alienation of affection is possibly a viable cause of action:

  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri (appears recently abolished)
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah

To succeed on an alienation claim, the plaintiff often must show that (1) the marriage entailed love between the spouses in some degree; (2) the spousal love was alienated and destroyed; and (3) defendant’s malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection. It is often not necessary to show that the defendant set out to destroy the marital relationship, but only that he or she intentionally engaged in acts that likely would impact the marriage.

Note: The article above may not contain current information.

See also…

Attorneys, Courts, Litigation

Family Law – Forum