An Alienation of Affection lawsuit is a civil tort claims against someone who is not your spouse, but through his or her own actions, caused a spouse to leave the other. Being a third party to the marriage, they may be sued by the deserted spouse for the loss of affection that was provided during the marriage, or to word it another way, they are sued for the affection that the deserted spouse did not get.
A lot of people quickly assume that these third parties are only a spouses secret lover, often known as a “home wrecker”, however this can extend to parents, in-laws, friends, and sometimes the spouses’ therapist that had suggested they file for divorce. You cannot file this lawsuit in 43 of the 50 states, including New York.
In order to prove Alienation of Affection, you must show that you and your spouse had, at one time, been in a “happy” marriage, with legitimate affection involved. Then, as a result of the third parties’ actions, the love and affection that was present in the marriage was destroyed (you must prove both that the “love is gone” as well as showing that it is the third-party to blame for this). Finally, you must show that you yourself were damaged to some extent.
In courts that do hear Alienation of Affection cases, the remedy is monetary, and both spouses may seek money damages against this person.