Spousal Support

In the State of North Carolina, when people separate it can be financially difficult. Dependent spouses are able to pursue claims for post-separtion support and/or alimony.

Post-Separation support is temporary in nature, while alimony is typically longer in duration. Either party may move for post-separation support in North Carolina. The court can consider:

 

Finally, the court may make an award of post-separation support if the court finds that the resources of the dependent spouse are not adequate to meet his or her reasonable needs and the supporting spouse has the ability to pay.

Alimony can be awarded in cases where a court in North Carolina finds that the moving party has met the burden of proof. Alimony can be awarded for several years and possibly permanently. That Alimony can be awarded upon a finding a that a party is a dependent spouse, that the other spouse is a supporting spouse, and that an award of alimony is equitable after considering all relevant factors. The relevant factors include, but are not limited to:

 

Acts of marital misconduct can affect ones liability and/or eligibility for alimony. If the court finds that the dependent spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior, during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, the court shall not award alimony. If the court finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court shall order that alimony be paid to a dependent spouse. Spouse may request a jury trial on the issue of marital misconduct.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is spousal Support?Open or Close

    In North Carolina there are two types of spousal support. There is post separation support and alimony. Post Separation Support is temporary support. It is based upon a spouse’s financial needs. Following post separation, alimony may be awarded. In alimony cases the court not only considers dependent spouse’s needs, but also considers many other factors including, but not limited to: marital misconduct commited by either party, the age and health of the parties, each party’s incomes, the length of the marriage, and other factors pursuant with the North Carolina General Statutes.

  • Who can get spousal support?Open or Close

    First, in order for the court to award alimony, the court must find that one spouse is “dependent. Pursuant with the N.C. General Statutes: “The court shall award alimony to the dependent spouse upon a finding that one spouse is a dependent spouse, that the other spouse is a supporting spouse, and that an award of alimony is equitable after considering all relevant factors, including those set out in subsection (b) of this section.

     

    To be “actually substantially dependent,” and thus entitled to alimony, a spouse must have an actual dependence on the other in order to maintain the standard of living to which he or she became accustomed during the last several years prior to the spouses’ separation. To be “substantially in need of support” means that the dependent spouse would be unable to maintain his or her accustomed standard of living established prior to separation without financial contribution from the other.

  • How do I know if I am a dependent spouse?Open or Close

    Typically if your spouse makes significantly more money than you do, you are a dependent spouse.

  • What other factors does the Court consider when making an award of alimony?Open or Close

    The statute lists sixteen (16) factors for the court to consider, which are:
    1. Marital misconduct
    2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
    3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
    4. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others;
    5. The duration of the marriage;
    6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
    7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
    8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
    9. The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
    10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
    11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
    12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
    13. The relative needs of the spouses;
    14. The federal, State, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
    15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper;
    16. The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital or divisible property.

  • What if I had an affair, am I still eligible for Alimony?Open or Close

    Typically if the dependent spouse engages in an affair, they are barred from being awarded any alimony.

  • What steps do I need to take to prepare for a support claim?Open or Close

    You will need to provide your financial statements, any and all income records, credit account statements, bank account records, other documents to demonstrate your monthly income and expenses. This will help our attorney prepare your spousal support case, as these documents will be needed in preparing a financial affidavit to be used at the hearing. For an alimony trial, any additional information you can provide to the court regarding your spouse’s conduct (or misconduct) during the marriage can be particularly helpful.

  • How do you defend a case for alimony?Open or Close

    There are many ways to defend against an alimony claim. One of the most effective methods is to have a full grasp of the true expenses and financial needs of both parties. This may require appraisals on real property, businesses owned by the parties, and even on certain items of personal property. Another common defense is to present evidence of marital conduct, such as adultery, committed by the spouse seeking the alimony.

  • When do I have to file for Child support?Open or Close

    Child support can be filed at any time.

  • Is alimony considered taxable income?Open or Close

    Yes, unlike child support, alimony is considered taxable income. Under federal and state income tax law, alimony is deductible by the payor spouse and reportable as income to the dependent spouse, provided that the following criteria are met:
    1. The payments are in cash and not in kind;
    2. The payments are made incident to divorce or to a separation agreement;
    3. The parties have not designated the payments as non-alimony;
    4. The parties are not living in the same household;
    5. The payor has no liability for payment after the death of the payee spouse.

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