Post Separation Support and Alimony
Divorce in NC can be complex, time consuming, and incredibly stressful. This is especially so when economic factors come into play.
In certain households, one spouse may be the main source of economic support while the other spouse maintains the household.
When spouses separate and file for divorce, one spouse may have little sustainable income flow to support their daily necessities and maintenance of a routine life.
Depending on the stage of the divorce process, a spouse in North Carolina may file for support from the other spouse in the form of post-separation support (PSS) and/or alimony. In the past, PSS used to be called temporary alimony.
The court awards such support based a review of multiple factors which are described in the following sections.
It is important that you have an experienced Divorce Attorney Charlotte NC to help you navigate this intricate and often confusing process.
At the Powers Law Firm, we understand how to advocate for the support you need and deserve following a separation or divorce from a spouse.
In North Carolina, you may only seek dissolution of the marriage following a 1 year period of continuous separation. During this post-separation period, North Carolina courts allow you to seek post-separation support, depending on who is determined to be the dependent spouse vs the supporting spouse.
The purpose of post-separation support is to meet the reasonable needs of the dependent spouse. In determining the amount necessary to meet the dependent spouses’ reasonable needs, a judge will analyze each spouse’s income, earning abilities, financial need, and the marital standard of living.
Additionally, the dependent spouse must set forth in its complaint why he or she does not have the financial resources to meet their reasonable needs.
Once a divorce is finalized and a final judgment is entered, the judge will terminate the post-separation support obligation. At this stage, the judge determines whether the dependent spouse should be awarded alimony.
North Carolina courts will usually adhere to any post-separation agreement or prenuptial agreement waiving or agreeing to a certain amount of alimony.What is Alimony in North Carolina?
Alimony is payment for the support and maintenance of the dependent spouse following the dissolution of the marriage. The prerequisite requirements are that the dependent spouse has a financial need for alimony and the individual paying the alimony has the means to do so.
In North Carolina, courts have considerable latitude in determining the amount of alimony in NC and they must weigh multiple factors, including:
- Misconduct of spouses during the period of marriage, prior to legal separation (Marital Infidelity)
- How much the spouses bring home in income, together and separately
- How old each spouse his, their physical, emotional, and mental well-being
- Assets of both spouses, future income (unearned income), retirement accounts, stocks, 401(k), benefits including insurance, disability, social security, retirement, etc.
- How long the spouses were married
- Whether one spouse assisted in helping the other spouse get degrees, professional certifications, training, or the increased earning capacity of either of the spouses
- The relative earning abilities of each spouse, associated with raising a minor child, serving as a custodian of a child or children, and expenses or financial requirements of raising children.
- Accustomed way of living, customary lifestyle the spouses enjoyed during the period of marriage
- Education, advance degrees, training, and time necessary for the dependent spouse to find a job and/or meet their standard of living / economic needs
- The marital estate assets, balance sheet, relative assets and debt
- Property purchases during the marriage
- Contributions of homemakers and keeping the home
- The individual needs of each spouse
- Tax consequences of alimony, including Federal, State, and Local Taxes
- Equitable considerations, as determined appropriate by the Family Court Judge
- Previous considerations of income by the Court regarding marital property, divisible property, and separate property
It is important to note that courts will generally not award alimony to a dependent spouse if he or she engaged in illicit sexual conduct during the marriage even if they are financially unable to support themselves.
There are exceptions to the general rule, including a finding by the Court of forgiveness or possibly reconciliation.
Similarly, normally the supporting spouse will automatically be ordered to pay alimony if they engaged in illicit sexual conduct during the marriage.
We understand the NC family laws regarding post-separation support and alimony in North Carolina and South Carolina can seem complicated. You may be overwhelmed. The divorce lawyers at our firm can guide you through the process.
Rock Hill, SC Office:
*By Appointment Only
*Attorneys Bill Powers, Megan Powell and Chris Beddow are all North Carolina licensed attorneys. Each of them serves a Divorce Lawyers in Charlotte NC. Lawyer Chris Beddow is also licensed to practice in South Carolina (he’s the only SC attorney at the firm). Mr. Beddow is responsible for all South Carolina family law matters.