Only time can heal a broken heart—but for a North Carolina man whose wife of 12 years left him for another man, a $750,000 judgment against her lover might help. Kevin Howard won the lawsuit against the other man under the state's "alienation of affection" law, which allows spouses to sue somebody who has "purposefully interfered" with their marriage. Howard tells CNN that the case was about a lot more than money. "I believe in the sanctity of marriage," he says. "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." He says the other man was one of his wife's work colleagues, and he had considered him a friend.
Howard says his wife initially told him she wanted to separate because he worked too much. He tried marriage counseling, but later became suspicious and hired a private investigator, who uncovered the affair. His attorney, Cindy Mills, tells WITN that the other man laughed when he was told about the lawsuit. "That defendant now has a $750,000 judgment against them, so I don't think he's laughing now," she says. Mills says she has handled around one such case every year over the last 30 years, and won a $5.9 million judgment in a 2010 case. Many states have done away with their "alienation of affection" laws, but they are still on the books in Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah as well as North Carolina. (Last year, a man who said his marriage was "murdered" was awarded $.8.8 million.)