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Alimony

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Alimony Lawyer in Raleigh

Protecting Your Rights Through Spousal Support

At Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC, our divorce lawyers have worked with many Raleigh clients needing legal assistance with alimony. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is financial support from one spouse to the other following divorce or separation. Alimony can be a difficult thing to agree upon in divorce, especially if both parties are not in agreement over contribution to the marriage or other issues.

Pursuing or Fighting a Spousal Support Award

Spousal support, or alimony, exists to provide an ex-spouse the financial assistance needed to help that person carry on after the marriage is over. There are many factors that affect whether an ex-spouse qualifies for alimony, as well as how much should be allocated, such as one spouse not earning an income. For answers to this and other questions related to a divorce, you can rely on the Raleigh divorce attorneys at Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC. We are experienced in helping individuals get through a difficult time more smoothly, so that they can focus on their futures and start anew.

Factors that Determine the Need for Alimony

Every marriage is different, with many factors that affect the issue of spousal support.

The following are common factors in cases of alimony:

  • Length of the Marriage
  • Earning Capacities of Each Spouse
  • Infidelity During the Marriage
  • Drug or Substance Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Affairs with Infidelity (Affairs after infidelity during the marriage)

The preliminary steps to determining the value of alimony is for the court to ascertain that one spouse was in fact the main supporter and the other was dependent on that support. If this bears out, then the process of seeing that alimony is equitable is the next step. Divorce can be complicated. Property division, spousal support, child custody and much more have to be worked out. We give each of our clients the individual and compassionate attention they need while attending to all the legal issues.

Post Separation Support Laws in North Carolina

Alimony and Post Separation Support (PSS) are the same as temporary alimony. PSS is rehabilitative and not punitive support. The court may award alimony and/or PSS to a dependent spouse from the supporting spouse in an equitable amount after considering all relevant factors. Either spouse may file for PSS or alimony.

Dependent vs. Supporting Spouse

Dependent Spouse: The spouse who is substantially dependent on the other spouse for financial support in order to meet his or her monthly reasonable needs.

Supporting Spouse: The spouse who has the ability to provide financial support to the dependent spouse.

North Carolina does a financial test to determine who the dependent spouse is and who the supporting spouse is at the time of separation. This is typically done by evaluating the reasonable needs of each party by comparing monthly expenses and income. The reasonable needs are based not only upon income, but on reasonable expenses for the dependent spouse to maintain the same standard of living as the parties enjoyed prior to their separation.

This is statutorily referred to as maintaining the same standard of living. There are additional factors that the court considers such as:

  • Employment of the parties
  • Income earning abilities
  • Debt structure

The party who has a short fall is the dependent spouse and the spouse who has a surplus is the supporting spouse. The court may award alimony by obligating the supporting spouse to pay the financial short if the support spouse has a sufficient surplus.

Effects of Cheating & Marital Conduct on Alimony

Affairs or Illicit sexual behavior can have an effect on alimony. If a spouse that is seeking alimony is revealed to have been engaged in an extramarital affair, they may not be able to receive an award. Likewise, if a spouse who ordinarily would not have had to pay spousal support is exposed to having been unfaithful, alimony payments may be made mandatory. If both or neither spouses engaged in illicit sexual behavior then alimony may be award by the court based upon the financial tests.

The court may take into consideration the marital misconduct of a party when determining whether or not to make a discretionary award of Alimony.

Marital Misconduct can include:

  • Illicit Sexual Behavior: Sexual or deviate sexual intercourse.
  • Statutorily Sexual Acts: Cunnilingus, fellatio, analingus, or anal intercourse. It does not include vaginal intercourse.

Other Factors

A variety of other factors and conduct of spouses during the course of the marriage can have an effect on the determination of alimony.

The court will make a decision after an examination of the following factors:

  • Involuntary Separation: A party is incarcerated as a result of criminal conduct.
  • Abandonment: When one party leaves the home willfully with the intent of ending the marital relationship.
  • Malicious Turning Out of Doors: When one spouse excludes the other from the residence.
  • Cruel or Barbarous Treatment: Actions that endanger the life of the other spouse (such as domestic violence).
  • Indignities: Actions that render the other spouse’s living conditions intolerable and make his/her life burdensome and humiliating (such as domestic violence or emotional abuse).
  • Reckless Spending: If one party recklessly spends the other’s income. Also refers to the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets
  • Excessive Use of Alcohol or Drugs: so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
  • Willful Failure to Provide Necessary Subsistence: – Failing to provide for the other party’s basic needs to the point that their life becomes intolerable.

Need Legal Help? Contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC Today!

Divorce can be a complex and emotionally taxing experience. At Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, our experienced Raleigh family lawyers understand the gravity of your situation and are prepared to stand by your side every step of the way. Protecting your wellbeing is our top priority, and we are ready to do everything we can to help you achieve a mutually acceptable arrangement with your spouse. With personalized representation and an unshakable dedication to preserving your rights, we can help you get through this difficult time as smoothly as possible.

Call 800-705-8950 to learn how our Raleigh alimony lawyer can help.

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