The highest cost a person pays when they have an affair is the potential for damaging the marital bond beyond repair. Sometimes, children also hold the affair against the parent who committed it. They believe if one parent never had an affair, the family would remain together and the other parent would not be in so much pain over the incident.
However, there might be monetary costs as well. Some states still treat extra-marital relationships as illegal. CNN confirms that, in North Carolina, it is a serious offense. When people have affairs in North Carolina, the spouse not involved in the affair can sue the person his or her partner cheated with. Married couples often cheat with other married or otherwise partnered individuals, so this can compound the effect.
The law that makes this possible in North Carolina is the alienation of affections law. Some people view this law as archaic, but it does exist in a handful of other states. These include Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, South Dakota and Mississippi. Other laws that might complement alienation of affection include marital misconduct and criminal conversation. If the defendant can prove the marriage was already in decline prior to engaging with the married person, he or she might beat the allegations.
The cases cited by CNN ocurred in 2018, but it was not an isolated one. One article published by the Washington Post pointed out that between 2000 and 2007, married partners filed an average of 230 such complaints each year. Even so, many people continue to fight against this tort law in North Carolina. These individuals believe the law is unconstitutional and negatively impacts a person’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Only time will tell whether North Carolina permanently disbands with the law. In the meantime, the spouse of accused cheaters might continue to use it to their advantage.