Spousal Support After a Divorce
In North Carolina, spousal support may be awarded to a party when it can be demonstrated that he or she was dependent on the other spouse, meaning that the other spouse was providing financial support during the term of the marriage.
Generally, the spouse who earns less income is considered to be dependent on the other spouse. However, there can be many variables in the final determination on the amount of spousal support ordered. The court can order spousal support payments as monthly payments or a lump sum payment in satisfaction of the alimony obligation. Most alimony claims are settled outside of court in a privately negotiated separation agreement.
Financial circumstances can change abruptly or over a period of time. Life is subject to many varied events that can cause changes in finances. Spousal support payments can be modified in certain situations. At such a time, an attorney can assist you by petitioning the court for modifications to an existing divorce agreement.
Your legal rights need to be protected when your spousal support amounts are calculated, whether the case is resolved in in court or through negotiations with the opposing attorney.
The Raleigh law firm of Charles R. Ullman & Associates understands the financial repercussions of divorce, separation and spousal support issues. Our attorneys have experience with the North Carolina laws that affect you at this time of turmoil. We’ve helped numerous Wake County residents, including clients from Raleigh and Cary.
Speak with an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney from our firm today so that you can fully understand all the factors involved in your spousal support matters, and ensure that your best interests are protected by a skilled attorney with extensive experience in crafting or litigating these agreements.
Factors in Spousal Support Agreements
The court may award spousal support to either the husband or the wife in a North Carolina divorce. The person who pays spousal support is called the “supporting spouse,” and the person who receives support is called the “dependent spouse.” The court may order periodic payments or a lump sum.
A judge will award spousal support only when one spouse requests this form of support. If the other spouse opposes the request for spousal support, the judge must then decide which spouse has adequately proven the need or lack of need.
There are a number of factors reviewed by the court when determining spousal support amounts and whether it should be awarded at all. There are a number of factors reviewed by the court when determining spousal support amounts and whether it should be awarded at all. Add – Alimony is discretionary in the amount paid and how long the alimony payments are made. Some of these include:
- The length of the marriage.
- Whether any marital misconduct was involved.
- Age of both parties at the time of divorce.
- Physical and mental condition of each spouse.
- Educational background of both spouses.
- Both spouses’ earning potential and history.
- Standard of living during the marriage.
- Current income and potential income.
- Contribution of one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other spouse.
- Current expenses and needs.
- Marital and non-marital property.
- The child custody arrangement.
- Whether either party has existing spousal support obligations.
Enforcing, Modifying and Ending Spousal Support
The spouse who is ordered to pay spousal support by the court, or has had an agreement approved by the court, has a legal duty to meet his or her obligations. Failing to pay spousal support after being ordered by the court can carry serious consequences.
In such a case, payment on the part of the supporting spouse can be enforced through the court system, and the spouse who has failed to pay faces serious consequences, including being charged with contempt of court. In some cases, it may be necessary to take other legal actions based on the facts.
Supporting spouses who are having trouble making spousal support payments should seek a modification of the agreement instead of simply failing to pay support.
Charles R. Ullman & Associates has helped many clients dealing with difficult divorce issues in Raleigh, Cary and throughout Wake County. Our firm includes a Certified Specialist in Family Law and skilled divorce attorneys who have handled all aspects of divorce, from simple divorces to the most complex litigation.
Please contact our firm today so we can discuss your current situation and advise you on how to move forward.
- North Carolina General Assembly: Divorce and Alimony