Alienation of Affection Torts: Love ’Em or Leave ’Em?
Political Science and International Affairs
The alienation of affection tort, which allows a plaintiff to sue a third party for interfering with the plaintiff's marriage, has been disparaged by many as a relic of women's former status as their husband's property. Despite its archaic roots, the tort as it operates today is in many ways quite modern and addresses some of the problems, expectations, and obstacles of modern American marriage. Furthermore, it fits in with developments in tort law toward more actions for nontangible, nonfinancial damages. Given the tort's history, one might assume that it benefits men, but women also benefit from and use this tort, as demonstrated in a case study of North Carolina, a jurisdiction where the tort is frequently pursued. In its current form, the alienation tort can be reconciled with feminist theory and with women's interests, and should not be abolished without reconsideration.
Politics & Gender
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Gordon, Elizabeth E. "Alienation of Affection Torts: Love ’Em or Leave ’Em?" Politics & Gender 3 (2007) 475-498.