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Is Alienation of Affection Still Recognized in Georgia?
Generally, the tort or civil offense of alienation of affection can be defined as a lawsuit in which one spouse claims that the defendant willfully and maliciously deprived him or her of the affection, assistance, conjugal fellowship, and consortium of their spouse. See Wright v. Lester, 105 Ga. App. 107 (1961) and Emerson v. Fleming, 127 Ga. App. 296 (1972).What this means, generally, is that in a suit for alienation of affection, one spouse may sue the boyfriend or girlfriend of their cheating spouse for money damages.
Although this cause of action is still recognized by a hand full of states, namely Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah, it is no longer recognized in Georgia. Up until 1979, Georgia did recognize the tort of alienation of affection. However, on April 4, 1979 Georgia's legislature repealed the law allowing for alienation of affection actions. See Brown v. Hauser, 249 Ga. 513 (1982). Specifically, Georgia law now states: "Adultery, alienation of affections, or criminal conversation with a wife or husband shall not give a right of action to the person’s spouse. Rights of action for adultery, alienation of affections, or criminal conversation are abolished." O.C.G.A. § § 51-1-17