Alienation of affection refers to a situation in which the affection that binds a couple is lost or destroyed. Affection, or love, is necessary to maintain a romantic relationship. Without affection, a relationship will not survive. When the loss of affection occurs within a marriage, it is termed the alienation of affection.
When this term is applied, it indicates that a third party or an outside individual was responsible for the destruction of affection. This may occur when an individual establishes an emotional or an intimate relationship with a person other than his/her spouse. However, the alienation of affection will not necessary involve adultery.
In some instances, an individual’s friend or a family member may damage the couple’s love and affection. In some states, the alienation of affection is considered to be a serious offense. As a result, an injured party may be permitted to take legal action against the individual who is responsible for the loss of affection in his/her marriage.