California Lacks Alienation of Affection Laws

Fletcher Cox is a football player. He plays defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a football superstar and one of Mississippi’s finest sons.

Joshua Jeffords is a married man living in North Carolina.

Although it appears that the two have little in common, according to celebrity website TMZ, Jeffords is suing Cox in North Carolina for alienation of affection.

According to TMZ, Jeffords filed his law suit on November 22, 2017. He alleges Cox seduced Jeffords’s wife while she was in Pennsylvania for her work. Not only did Cox seduce her, but the two maintained a romantic relationship via text messages when she returned home.

Jeffords says he has the text messages including one where Cox wants her to have his baby. Jeffords also provided copies of some of these alleged messages including some that say: "I want to get you pregnant", "I'm dead ass serious", and “You ain't gone (sic) be no damn single mom."

Also in his lawsuit, Jeffords claims that his marriage ended due to the actions of Cox with Jeffords’s wife. Jeffords wants more than $25,000 for Cox’s actions.

According to Wikipedia, a cause of action for the personal injury law of alienation of affection exists when:

“(1) the marriage entailed love between the spouses in some degree;

(2) the spousal love was alienated and destroyed; and

(3) the defendant's malicious conduct contributed to or caused the loss of affection. It is not necessary to show that the defendant set out to destroy the marital relationship, but only that he or she intentionally engaged in acts which would foreseeably impact the marriage.”

Only seven states have alienation of affection laws, California is not one of them. In fact, California law is very clear that any fault of either spouse causing the breakdown of the marriage cannot be used as a reason for the divorce. Further fault cannot be used to determine whether and how much spousal support will be awarded to the “wronged” spouse.

Lastly, a third party interfering with a marriage cannot be sued by the “wronged” spouse in California. However, the “wronged” spouse may have a cause of action in California to have the third party return one-half of all gifts, and/or monies spent on that third party by the cheating spouse.

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