Alienation of Affection; Adultery that gets you Sued!

We learned last week that Adultery may be a crime in Mississippi. To recap; adultery can get you divorced and adultery can get you arrested, but did you also know that adultery can get you sued for money?! It’s the triple whammy.  And don’t think you are immune because you are the paramour (the b/f or g/f).

Alienation of Affection (AOA) is known as a common law tort.  A tort is a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong.  It is a legal remedy available, not by statute, but due to case law history and an equitable claim whose intent is to protect marriages.  AOA allows the wronged spouse to sue the “significant other” of the guilty spouse for the breakdown of the marriage.  There are only 6 states in the country that still recognize AOA, but Mississippi is one of them and as recently as the 1990’s our Courts have refused to abolish this tort when it had the chance, reaffirming its place in the Mississippi legal system.

So what is AOA?

The elements are 1) Wrongful Conduct (ie: adultery, though not required), 2) loss of affections, and 3) a causal connection.  All 3 must be present for a viable claim.  There is a 3 year statute of limitations in which to bring the claim, beginning when the loss of affection is finally accomplished.

*As an aside, North Carolina has AOA and a separate tort called “criminal conversation” which only requires proof of sex with a married person for the “significant other” to be liable for damages.  It does not require loss of affections or a causal connection or even a real relationship.

So what is the take away here?  Just because you are not married does not mean you have no culpability in an affair.  You will  be a necessary witness in the divorce case and stand a chance of getting sued yourself for AOA.  And if you go to North Carolina, you better behave.

Arrested & Divorced; Just Say No!

Everyone knows that Adultery is a fault ground for divorce in Mississippi. Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse with a  person of the opposite sex, not your spouse. It also must be uncondoned, which means legally forgiven by the other spouse, and it cannot have been committed in collusion with the other spouse just to gain a divorce. MCA § 93-5-1.

However, Adultery may also be considered crime!

§ 97-29-1. Adultery and fornication; unlawful cohabitation 

If any man and woman shall unlawfully cohabit, whether in adultery or fornication, they shall be fined in any sum not more than five hundred dollars each, and imprisoned in the county jail not more than six months; and it shall not be necessary, to constitute the offense, that the parties shall dwell together publicly as husband and wife, but it may be proved by circumstances which show habitual sexual intercourse.

So in addition to having a divorce granted against the offending party they could also be arrested and prosecuted and face a $500.00 fine and/or up to 6 months in the county jail. And that may not even be the worst of it with the potential for an Alienation of Affection lawsuit out there. (It’s  actionable to sue someone for the breakdown of your marriage, a blog for another day).

In the words of Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No!”

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Why the Bow Tie?

Okay, here is the blog that ALL of you have been waiting for.  Why the Bow Tie?  Why do I wear it? Where did it come from?  Do you tie it yourself?

First of all, yes.  My bow ties are real and I tie them myself.  Tying one is very similar to a shoelace, it’s not hard, just takes some practice.

Where do I get them?  Most any place that has ties.  I get most from Belk or similar type stores.  I have a few really “nice” ones from fine men’s haberdasheries, but their quality is not far superior to any others. I have a few from on-line places and several were gifts. Always a good gift. Hint, hint.

Several years ago I was having lunch with Mark Chinn (legal mentor, former boss, and still great friend ) and we were discussing branding. Mark wears nice suits and wears a hat. He has a fedora hat, actually several, and he wears them in part as his style, but also for practical reasons like sun protection.  He is well-known and identifiable by his hat(s).  As we discussed my brand, I wanted something simple, memorable, different and not a hat.

If I had started wearing hats and stood next to Mark in his, I would look ridiculous. Like Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito ridiculous.

What about a bow tie?  We had a firm event coming up, our annual divorce firm Valentine’s party (aren’t we clever), and I thought that would be a fine time to unveil the bow tie.  I went to Mozingo Clothiers, just up the street from my office and with Charlie’s help picked out a fine pinkish, purplish bow tie, that looked quite festive. Charlie showed me how he ties them, tied it for me and I left with the tie pre-tied.  It had buttons on the back, as most do.

As I mulled over wearing the bow tie, I thought, “everyone is going to ask if I tied it…I have to say yes, truthfully.”  I untied it, having never tied a bow tie before and on my second attempt did a pretty fine job, with the help of Charlie’s lesson and a great you tube video.

That night I had lots of compliments and of course, “Did you tie it yourself?”  I crowed “absolutely”.  I have worn a bow tie ever since.

I have had many compliments in Court, at Court, and from Court on the bow tie.  My best story from Court was when I appeared for the first time in front of an out of county Judge, meaning a Judge I do not appear before regularly .  She commented on my tie approvingly.  Court went fine.  I was back in her Courtroom some weeks later and had my back turned as the Judge approached me and asked me to turn around so she could see what color bow tie I was wearing that day. I knew I was on to something.

That is why I enjoy and wear bow ties. To be different, to be remembered and because its my style.

Divorce, Child Custody & Child Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Youth Court, Adoption and Appeals.

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