…If she lived Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah or North Carolina, and if Nichol was a man, she could be prosecuted via what is known as “tort law” regarding alienation of affection. Couldn’t she?
1 month before her third pregnancy, Shan’ann was considering divorce – Discovery Documents [25th Tranche]
The “if she was a man” clause in the statement above should give you pause, and should alert you to the sexist nature inherent in this tort law. Where did the this law come from? The apposite question isn’t where but when.
The Alienation of Affection law is an antiquated legal artifact dating back to the 18th century. It was originally a pretty sexist legislation, designed to protect a paternal setup: a husband’s property rights were protected by this law, including the recognition that the wife was the property of the husband during that time. And so a third party cheating with her could be accused of “damaging” the property of the husband. Of course no such law existed then to protect the interests of the other spouse – the wife.
Arguably, society and the law have both changed so much that the law doesn’t necessary protect the rights any more of either spouse during adultery. Although I studied family law for one year at university, I’m no expert on the subject, but it seems clear that it only kicks in due to contractual arrangements, and not by default. Based on whether the couple were married in community of property or not, that will determine to some extent how assets are divide. If married out of community of property, very few protections apply.
According to Vice.com:
Alienation of affection is a type of tort claim, which basically means that a private individual can sue another private individual for doing some kind of wrong to them. For alienation of affection claims specifically, a plaintiff who believes their spouse left them because of the actions of a third party, usually an extramarital lover, can file a lawsuit against that third party.
Robin Lalley is a family law attorney with the firm Sodoma Law who practices in North and South Carolina. Having represented clients on both sides, she says alienation of affection cases are not difficult to win. The most difficult part tends to be proving someone else’s actions played a role in the breakup. That may be more circumstantial, she says, though it does help if the deserted spouse has evidence of the affair, such as texts or photos captured by a private investigator.
“Things like that make it all the more clear to a jury or to a judge that there was some kind of act that would have alienated the affection of your spouse from you,” Lalley says. Also, she adds, “it’s not a necessary element that you prove that your spouse and the third party had sex … Technically, it could be an emotional affair.”
According to local media reporting, about 200 alienation of affection claims are filed every year in North Carolina, though most are settled out of court. When potential clients approach Lalley about filing such a lawsuit, she says she usually asks what they hope to get out of it. “If you want money, then [the third party] has to have money to go after. The average person doesn’t have thousands or millions of dollars just lying around,” she says. “If you’re doing it just on principle, that’s a pretty expensive cause of action to pursue,” considering court costs and attorney fees.
Earlier this year, Keith King, the founder of a BMX entertainment company near Greenville, captured national media attention after he was awarded $8.8 million by a judge after he sued the man who’d been seeing his wife for more than a year. He told WRAL that he realized he’d probably never see that money, but winning his case was more important.
TCRS: Only a man can be sued in this scenario.
More: His wife cheated on him. So he sued the other man for $750,000 — and won. – Washington Post
Suing The Person Your Ex-Spouse Cheated On You With Is Deeply Unchill – Vice.com
Adultery and fornication: Why are states rushing to get these outdated laws off the books? – Salon
12 thoughts on “Nichol Kessinger COULD be prosecuted if…”
It’s far more of a sick game to continue to date a man knowing he’s married, not in the process of filing for divorce, hasn’t moved out of the family home, becomes uncomfortable taking suggestions about renting an apartment, doesn’t tell you he has children until you look down at his cell phone and see a screensaver with children, but you proceed anyway. You go over to his house, have a little walk around and see there are no signs of bags packed, boxes packed, there are pictures of the family out everywhere and still you persist. When he tells you he can continue to see you after his wife returns from her long vacation, just not as much, you persist. You send him countless pictures of yourself in nude poses to keep him interested especially during the time he is with his wife on vacation just to remind him you are still there. You downplay just how much you know about his wife, you know she’s in some kind of sales you say, you know the expiration date on a box of condoms and when they were manufactured but you don’t know his wife is 15 weeks pregnant. I guess you don’t know a hell of a lot.
It’s far more of a sick game to continue to date a man knowing he’s married, not in the process of filing for divorce, >>>> In a 5 week long relationship, she was led to believe he was separated and divorcing. And Shan’ann going to North Carolina for 5 weeks provided that impression regardless of what was believed. Kessinger’s statement to the media was that he lied to her about everything.
Guess what? He’s also lied to us about everything.
I want to say too though that I think she has had pretty good PR. Her dad was able to expunge everything they didn’t wish us to see from the record, her nude selfies have still not been published, she has gone into hiding – no one can find her – and even her photographed stills look polished, sober, serious, sophisticated with just the right touch of innocence. She appears to be educated yet there have been some slip ups in her grammar or language in particular when speaking to Charlotte. She’s not really perceived as an Amber Frey, who had a child out of wedlock when she met Scott Peterson, but she’s on the same level in that she slept with her date almost immediately, without knowing much about him and was desperate to be in a relationship that worked. In Amber Frey’s day people were not plastered all over facebook, yet she still did her due diligence and found out Scott Peterson was married. Before he murdered his wife. But in the instance of NK and CW, Watts was easy pickings. He was already looking for a way out of his unhappy married and family life. Whether he simply grew bored, or grew resentful, he was several bad decisions waiting to happen.
She’s not really perceived as an Amber Frey, who had a child out of wedlock when she met Scott Peterson, but she’s on the same level in that she slept with her date almost immediately,>>>Amber Frey is regarded as a hero, which shows you how fickle people can be. Kessinger’s statements got Watts arrested within hours, and precluded even the need to have a trial.
I’ll acknowledge that 5 weeks isn’t very long – but it’s just long enough. She had many avenues available to her to get the goods on him – the internet, facebook, instagram, twitter, etc., she also saw his house, twice, noticed no one seemed to be in the process of moving out. She could have confided in a co worker, although that would have been risky. But had she asked some of the people Watts worked with she may have found out for all intents and purposes Watts was not in the process of filing for divorce. But I’ll give her some latitude as this was probably her first time with a married man. Amber Frey comes off as a heroine because she worked with the police, she allowed her phones to be tapped, she was able to lull Peterson into conversations – but Peterson was foxier than Watts. Also Amber Frey wasn’t doing her best to try and get Peterson away from his wife as she had no clue he was married until about the time his wife went missing. I’m glad Nichole K. called the police, but I think part of her reasons for doing so was self-preservation.
Are you very familiar with the Peterson case? Because Amber *was* informed that Peterson was married by her friend Shawn Sibley well prior to the disappearance, who in turn found out from a colleague of Peterson’s. How likely is it that the same colleague didn’t mention Laci was almost 12 months pregnant at the time?
Peterson informed Amber and demanded Peterson call Amber and explain it to her. He did. By lying. So who is at fault – him for lying or her for believing it and continuing regardless? If you actually listen to the audio between Amber and Peterson, although she knows she’s being recorded, and though she knows Laci has disappeared, there’s still an aspect where she seems to be still infatuated with him and wanting him to explain his actions. To her credit, Kessinger was so appalled by him she cut him off immediately and never looked back, and is the only character in this story that hasn’t attempted to profit out of it.
You seem intent on painting Kessinger as the villain, but it was her reluctance to continue the relationship, and her resistance after being in the house, that triggered Watts to do something extreme to try to keep her [ie Deeter Gate].
On August 12th Kessinger was still saying she wasn’t sure about him, he was kind but he seemed too good to be true. Kessinger was influenced in some ways by the fact that her best friend Charlotte was about to get married, and she was feeling left behind in that sense.
I don’t think she’s a villain in the story – but I teeter between her being a smart lady and a naive lady. If she was smart then she was intentionally trying to do what she could to break Watts up from his marriage, if she was naive then she was led astray the whole 5 weeks, another victim. I think she was a little of both, hoping that Watts would fulfill on his promises to leave his wife and get his own place, and trying to bring it about with the one weapon she had, sex. I do understand that both of these women were hoping for the handsome prince in their lives and just picked the wrong one. I hope this experience won’t forever taint NK in looking for love, and that now she’s older and wiser because she not only put her hopes and dreams into the wrong one, but a really wrong one.
And yes, I’ve forgotten all of the details around the Frey-Peterson case but enjoyed all of your books, every one.
Yes you’re 100% right. When it comes to an affair, it’s always a combination of smart and naive. There are clever tricks to mislead others, and naivete that it’s all going to work out for the best in the end.
I was trying to find out if a divorcing spouse moved in with a girlfriend – or boyfriend – would it affect the amount of spousal and child support awarded at time of divorce – or legal separation. It could, but the article was talking about if the mother moved in with a boyfriend, not if the newly single father moved in with a girlfriend. But if a divorcing spouse has a sudden or drastic change in their financial situation – declares bankruptcy or loses one’s job, that can significantly alter the amount of child support and spousal support awarded the primary custodian. Could the Watts declare bankruptcy again? Possibly. I’ll have to look into that. Also Watts didn’t have the kind of job where he could be paid under the table. If anything Anadarko would flat out fire him if they got wind he was cheating on his wife with a co-worker. Which might be the best thing for him. He could go back to fixing cars, and get paid under the table. The law does favor the mother, no matter what state you are in. I was thinking if Watts moved in with NK, and both incomes were used to maintain a certain standard of living then the girlfriend’s salary might be taken into consideration when awarding child support or spousal support, but I don’t think it’s the case in any state you reside in. And, you can’t file a joint tax return if you aren’t married to your partner.
As far as I know there is a clause where if one cohabits with another person spousal support is affected. I think about 6 months. Will confirm.
Family law is extremely complicated. If Shan’ann was already making inquiries she must have known if she tried to file for total custody and leave the state she might not have been able to. I think however, that Watts would have given her everything just to get out of the marriage. Everything but the house most likely. There are several clever things he could have done. First of all if she is going to claim she makes $80K a year, then that would go against her. If that was the case then she was making more than Watts – and it would most definitely have an impact on how much spousal support she would receive as well as child support. She would have to provide tax returns to show her reported income, and I suspect she was making closer to $35,000 a year – and a car bonus counts. Or does it. IT would fall under “tips and commissions.” If she didn’t make quota, no more car bonus. So it’s variable income.
There is the bankruptcy issue and all of their outstanding debts – which weren’t absolved in the first bankruptcy – they had new debts. If Watts had hired a clever attorney he or she could make a case that Shan’ann had caused the financial fiasco – but then when the house was sold it would matter not – they would both be liable and all debts would have to be paid off. There was also the lien on the house, which was about to go down. Owing $1500 in home owner’s dues isn’t a huge amount, but the association can tack on interest and fees associated with having to file in small claims court. Also a fee to remove the lien from collections.
Watts best bet, if he wanted to walk away with enough to live on, would be to declare a second bankruptcy, remove the debt obligations, sell the house, and keep most of it if he could. Also he could get himself fired. There is no paycheck to attach or wages to garner if there is nothing to garner. Not likely Anadarko is going to pay under the table. He would be ordered by a court to pay child support but the amount he would have to pay would depend on how much she really made. Then if he lost his job, he would never have to pay. So how would he live? He could get a job where he could be paid under the table. At least part of it. Move in with NK, and rebuild. Would she still be interested in him. I think so, she wanted him to move out and get a divorce – she can’t then say he didn’t do just that, and leave him. This would hang over his head for 18 years though times 3. But I think Shan’ann would have had it far worse. She couldn’t promote Thrive anymore, her car would be towed back to the dealer, she would have to move in with her parents and get a real job. I think Watts thought most of this out in advance, tried to cause a miscarriage as it would be one less mouth to feed if he had gone the route of divorce, but he could have eventually come out ahead by slowly rebuilding. He did think some things out, but only after the fact. He put his foot down in the worse possible way – then tried to fix their debt, by calling Primrose and the realtor . He was too afraid to go over Shan’ann’s head, so he resorted to murder.
And if the children hadn’t died, the childcare costs (@£2k per month? A lower income job in itself as anyone whose had to manage childcare knows) would have needed to be found by Chris and NK In their new set up- either that or lose the earning power of one of them to stay home. Kessinger seemed quite keen on her job – would have been a lot to expect her to give up work to bring them up. All of which i suspect went through chris’s mind when he made his choices.