Spousal Support

One common issue that comes up frequently in family law and divorce cases across North Carolina is the issue of spousal support. As you can probably tell given its name, spousal support involves payments made from one spouse to the other following a separation or divorce. 

For example with hypothetical names, Mike Thompson and Sharon Thompson of Greensboro, North Carolina have decided to file for a divorce. Sharon moves out of the marital residence in order to be legally separated from him so as to file for divorce. However, Sharon is the breadwinner in the family and makes significantly more than Mike. If the court determines that Mike was dependent on Sharon, he may be entitled to either alimony or post separation support from Sharon. 

As shown in the hypothetical example, spousal support is only awarded by the court when there is a dependent relationship between the two spouses. This means that one spouse is the dependent spouse and the other spouse is known as the supporting spouse. Again, you can probably surmise the meanings of these terms from their names. A dependent spouse is one who is dependent on the other spouse for support. A supporting spouse is one that has been providing support to the other spouse. 

Spousal support is a general term that can be split into two different categories: alimony and post separation support. The major difference between alimony and post separation support is the time frame. Alimony is more of a long-term or rehabilitative form of spousal support. Alimony can only be awarded once either party has filed for divorce. 

Post separation support, on the other hand, is a temporary, short-term form of spousal support. 

There are some technical requirements to make sure your claim for alimony or post separation support is viable and can be heard by the court. Your case for alimony or post separation support must be pending before the court prior to an order granting absolute divorce. If you do not have a pending case before the absolute divorce is granted, you lose the claim for both alimony and post separation support.  PLEASE SEEK ADVICE FROM A FAMILY LAWYER BEFORE FILING FOR DIVORCE IF YOU SEEK SPOUSAL SUPPORT.  THIS IS CRITICAL!!!!!!!!!!!

This technical requirement regarding timing is why it is important to have an experienced family law and divorce attorney at your side throughout this process. There are rules that must be followed or you can lose your right to have certain claims, such as those for alimony or post separation support, heard by the court. Having an experienced attorney ensures that you do not jeopardize your rights due to a technicality. 

For further, more specific and detailed information about both alimony and post separation support, select the link provided below for either type of spousal support. If you wish to file a claim for either alimony or post separation support, along with many other legal family issues, contact our office to meet with an experienced family law and divorce attorney.