He was called a homewrecker — and now he owes the jilted husband $750,000, a judge in North Carolina has ruled.
Citing the state’s “alienation of affection law,” Kevin Howard sued his ex-wife’s lover seeking recompense for ending their marriage, media outlets report.
In August, a judge agreed.
“I believe in the sanctity of marriage,” Howard told CNN. “Other families should see what the consequences are to not only breaking the vow to whatever religion you subscribe to, but also your legal responsibilities.”
North Carolina is one of only six states where jilted spouses can still sue their philandering partners’ lovers, The News & Observer reported.
“This suit is usually brought against the adulterous spouse’s paramour,” according to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. “However, suit may also be brought against an in-law or relative who has advised the defecting spouse to leave the marital relationship.”
Howard, who lives in Pitt County near the North Carolina coast, said he was with his wife for 12 years when she suddenly asked for a divorce, CNN reported.
A private investigator he hired reportedly uncovered the affair.
Howard said the man — who they both knew — intentionally seduced his wife, WNCN reported.
“He came to my house and ate dinner with us,” Howard told WITN. “We shared stories, we talked about personal lives.”
His attorney, Cindy Mills, said the defendant initially laughed when the case was brought, WITN reported.
“I said, ‘Do you find something funny about this process?’” she said. “That’s very dangerous perception to have because the same person who laughed in that deposition, that defendant now has a $750,000 judgment against them, so I don’t think he’s laughing now.”
Mills told CNN these alienation of affection cases are “very prevalent.”
Spouses have to be able to show they were happy with their partners before the lover “came between them” and caused the relationship to fail, according to the media outlet.
In North Carolina, attorneys have had some success arguing their cases under the law, the News & Observer reported.
A Durham County judge awarded the owner of a BMX bike stunt show company an $8.8 million judgment against a man from Texas whom he accused of seducing his wife.
The ex-wife of a trucking company owner also got a $30 million payout in a similar case from 2011, and a wrestling coach at Davidson College won $1.4 million in 2001 from his ex-wife’s old boyfriend after the pair rekindled their romance while she was still married.