The majority of states have abolished heart balm actions. In Illinois, heart balm actions for alienation of affections, breach of promise to marry, and criminal conversation were permitted under the common law before the abolition of those causes of action by "An Act in relation to certain causes of action conducive to extortion and blackmail, and to declare illegal, contracts and Acts made and done in pursuance thereof", filed May 4, 1935, Laws 1935, p. 716. The Illinois Supreme Court held, in Heck v. Schupp, 394 Ill. 296 (1946), that the 1935 Act was unconstitutional and that the abolition of heart balm actions would infringe upon the rights of parties to remedies under Section 19 of Article II of the 1870 Constitution. (Section 12 of Article I of the 1970 Constitution is similar to the relevant portion of Section 19 of Article II of the 1870 Constitution.) Since 1947, heart balm actions have been permitted with limited damages under the Alienation of Affections Act, the Breach of Promise Act, and the Criminal Conversation Act.
Society has since recognized that the amicable settlement of domestic relations disputes is beneficial. In 1977, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act became the law of this State. As stated in Section 102 of that Act, among its underlying purposes are: promoting the amicable settlement of disputes that have arisen between parties to a marriage; mitigating the potential harm to the spouses and their children caused by the process of legal dissolution of marriage; and eliminating the consideration of marital misconduct in the adjudication of rights and duties incident to the legal dissolution of marriage, legal separation and declaration of invalidity of marriage. Heart balm actions are inconsistent with these purposes. Society has also realized that women and men should have equal rights under the law. Heart balm actions are rooted in the now-discredited notion that men and women are unequal. Although the Alienation of Affections Act, the Breach of Promise Act, and the Criminal Conversation Act represent attempts to ameliorate some of the more odious consequences of heart balm actions, the General Assembly finds that actions for alienation of affections, breach of promise to marry, and criminal conversation are contrary to the public policy of this State and those causes of action should be abolished.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
No More Alienation of Affection Lawsuits in McLean County (New IMDMA, Pt. 1)
If House Bill 1452 turns into law, it will abolish law suits know as alienation of affection lawsuits in Bloomington Illinois. The main idea behind these suits is that if it were not for a third-party coming along and seducing the spouse away from the other spouse, the marriage would have gone on in bliss. These lawsuits are very difficult to win, and are seldom brought. Below is the explanatory language in the Bill that discusses alienation of affection and the changes that will be made. If you have any questions about divorce or family law issues in Bloomington Illinois, contact Bloomington Law Group LLC at 309-319-6206.
Jon D. McLaughlin
Bloomington Law Group LLC
Flanagan State Bank Building
2401 East Washington Street
Bloomington Illinois 61704
Office: (309) 319-6206