GREENVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina man sued the man he says wrecked his marriage, and ended up winning a $750,000 judgment.
According to court documents, Kevin Howard was awarded the money for "alienation of affections" -- a claim that says it's illegal if a person has an affair with a married person and it causes their divorce. If the defendant is unable to pay the judgment against them, it turns into debt owed and will appear on their credit report.
North Carolina is one of six states (Mississippi, South Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii) that has the alienation of affections law, sometimes referred to as the "homewrecker" law.
Howard and his wife were married for 12 years, according to WITN. He said he held his marriage sacred and his divorce was almost unbearable.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to face, it was like someone calling you and telling you that a family member had tragically died," Howard said.
Alienation of Affection dates back to the dowry days of old English law. North Carolina first recognized it in Barbee versus Armstead in 1849. In 1868, the state passed the Married Women's Property Act, allowing women to sue, too.
In North Carolina, it also is illegal to commit the act of adultery. Statute 14-184 Fornication and Adultery states, "If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly associate, bed and cohabit together...they shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor." In most counties, it isn't prosecuted.