South Dakota is one of six states with alienation of affection laws

Investigates

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a law most people don’t even know exists, but it’s against the law for someone to seduce a spouse from a happy marriage and it can result in an alienation of affection lawsuit.

KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke is taking a closer look at high-profile cases of alienation of affection in South Dakota and one recent case where a Sioux Falls man has been sued twice for this very same thing.

Alienation of affection laws are only on the books in six states– with South Dakota being one of them.

It goes back to the days when wives were considered a husband’s property. Opponents to the law say it’s shaming and outdated and needs to go. But proponents say it’s a way to keep others from interfering in the marriage and an avenue to recoup financial losses that divorce doesn’t provide.

“In an alienation of affection case, it’s the plaintiff, the spouse that is damaged, really against a third party; someone else. And the plaintiff basically has to state and believe that they wish they were still married to their wife or their husband, but for the acts of the defendant,” Attorney Bob Christenson said.

Coming up in Wednesday night’s KELOLAND News Investigation, we uncover that a Sioux Falls businessman, who faced an alienation of affection lawsuit in the early 2000s, is accused under the same civil law again and we look at other high-profile cases and how efforts to do away with alienation of affection have failed.

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