In North Carolina, a husband suspected his wife was cheating on him. His first clue: She asked him for a divorce. His second: A private investigator discovered undeniable evidence of her affair. Two months later, the husband visited the county courthouse. Instead of filing for a divorce, however, he sued his wife’s boyfriend for turning him into a cuckold.
The wild part is, after two years in court, the husband just won. And now, the wife’s boyfriend owes him $750,000.
In an interview with a local television station, the aggrieved husband, a ginger-headed man named Kevin Howard, spoke about the surprise implosion of his marriage back in 2017. “She’d originally told me that she wanted a divorce because I work too much and wasn’t around too much,” he said. “I talked about that as part of my mistake in the situation. But it was like a punch in the gut because I thought I had this trust and love for 12 years.”
The other man, too, was a friend of the couple. “He came to my house and ate dinner with us. We shared stories. We talked about our personal lives,” Howard recalled. But as he later discovered with help from the P.I., his wife and their mutual friend were sharing far more than stories while Howard was at work. The trouble in his marriage apparently wasn’t that Howard worked too much, it was that his family friend didn’t work enough and instead spent his time fucking Howard’s wife.
And so, in August 2017, Howard filed a lawsuit against his wife’s boyfriend. His case cited an old law still on the books in North Carolina — alienation of affection. It dates back to the 1800s, a time when the roads in every major city still smelled like horse shit. It was inspired by an English law from 1745, and it remains a legal artifact from a time when a woman was considered the property of her family — either belonging to her father or her husband.
But now, this law has become a cuckold’s weapon for legal revenge in the 21st century. In addition to North Carolina, it’s available to cuckolds in Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, New Mexico and Hawaii. But the Tar Heel state is the most egregious in applying it, as the state averages an estimated 200 cases a year. As one local law firm explained to potential new clients: “When someone engages in a relationship with a married person, a resulting alienation of affection or criminal conversation lawsuit can be costly. Fairly high-dollar awards in such cases have existed in the state for a number of years, a fact not generally known.”
To that last point, there’s no ceiling for the punitive judgment a defendant can be held financially liable for. In fact, North Carolina courts regularly award seven figures. Plus, if the court finds a boyfriend/lover guilty, and the defendant doesn’t have the money to pay the awarded judgment, that full amount gets added to the guilty lover’s credit report as an outstanding debt owed.
To make his case against his wife’s boyfriend, Howard hired a lawyer named Cindy Mills. She’s what you might call an expert in cuckold law. It was oft-reported in the local news coverage of Howard’s trial that over the course of Mills 30-year law career, she has had averaged roughly one alienation of affection lawsuit per year. That said, she doesn’t find any of it funny. As evidence, ask the defendant she just beat in court, Howard’s wife’s boyfriend.
“I said, ‘Do you find something funny about this process?’” Mills recalled from an encounter with the defendant, “That’s a 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.”
Back in 1984, in Cannon v. Miller, North Carolina’s alienation of affection law was challenged in court. The state court of appeals essentially disqualified it. (Since, you know, it does seem like something pulled from the Book of Leviticus.) However, the law was soon restored by the state’s supreme court. Basically, the higher court issued a sharply-worded rebuke of the lower court’s actions that intended to prohibit any further challenges.
One other interesting wrinkle in the North Carolina cuckold law is what’s called a “long-arm” statute, which means the legal system there allows its citizens to sue you if you’ve “engaged in substantial activity within this state, whether such activity is wholly interstate, intrastate or otherwise.” In other words, you’re legally liable in North Carolina even if you’ve never set foot in the state. Like, if you’re in Seattle sexting with a married woman in North Carolina and her husband finds out, and they get divorced, and he blames you, and then he sues you, and he wins like Howard did, the state of North Carolina could saddle you with a judgment for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or more.
The big-time payouts are numerous. Here are just three compelling pieces of evidence:
- A wrestling coach who sued his wife’s boyfriend for alienation of affection. The other man was his wife’s high school and college boyfriend. He graduated and became a doctor in Florida. The doctor and the cuckold’s wife reconnected and started hooking up in hotels around Charlotte. The wrestling coach cuck sued and won $1.4 million in 2001. After the wife’s boyfriend appealed the court’s decision, the final punitive damages were reduced to $500,000.
- In 2011, the owner of a trucking company in Raleigh was sued by his ex-wife. (If it’s any consolation, at least there’s equality under the cuckold laws. That is, a wife can sue her husband for alienation of affections, too.) The couple had been married for 15 years and had a 16-year-old son. The husband cheated. The wife sued his lover for making her a cuckold. By the time she won her judgment, the girlfriend had become the new wife. The ex-wife was awarded $10 million in compensatory damage and $20 million in punitive damages from her ex-husband’s new wife. Reading all that, you may think it’s about the money. But according to the ex-wife’s lawyer, “For my client, it wasn’t about the money. It was about sending a message that people should be held accountable for their actions.”
- Earlier this year, the owner of a BMX bike stunt show sued the Texan who seduced his wife and turned him into an unwilling cuck. The BMX stunt showman won $8.8 million in a stunning judgment against his wife’s boyfriend. Here’s just one story from their trial, which paints a full picture of their affair: In 2016, the cuck gifted his wife with a trip to the beach to relax at a spa weekend for her birthday. His cheating wife reportedly posted on Facebook about it, hyping her husband for his thoughtfulness. Meanwhile, her boyfriend showed up to enjoy the spa weekend with her. As the husband’s lawyer told the court, “He just conveniently popped up. There is no way this marriage could have been humanely saved with the level of this man’s involvement.”
So is such a lawsuit about the money? A way to regain power? A way to hurt the person(s) who hurt them? All of the above?
Obviously, you’d have to ask them, but in an interview with the Greenville NBC affiliate, Howard did say, “I filed the case because I feel it’s very important that people understand that the sanctity of marriage is important, especially in this day and age when people question everyone’s morals, people question everyone’s viability as a person, and the state backed me up on it.”
Howard later offered one last rationale: “I have scars. I still have a lot of healing to do.”
The good news is that he can now afford the finest bandages to tend to those wounds.