Family Law

Attorneys’ Fees in Spousal Support Cases

North Carolina General Statute § 50-16.4 provides that the dependent spouse may recover his or her attorneys’ fees in both post-separation support and alimony cases.  This statute provides that the supporting spouse may have to pay the reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the dependent spouse. This provides a strong incentive for the supporting spouse to…

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Modifying an Alimony Award

An alimony award “may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party.”  North Carolina General Statute § 50-16.9. Examples of scenarios that constitute changed circumstances include job loss, disability or illness, obtaining a higher paying job or any other factor that significantly…

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Effect of Adultery on Spousal Support Claims

In North Carolina, adultery affects the award of alimony differently depending on whether the adultery is committed by the supporting spouse or by the dependent spouse.  If the dependent spouse committed adultery during the marriage and before the date of separation, then the court is prohibited from awarding alimony to the dependent spouse unless the…

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When Does Alimony End?

Alimony terminates at the earlier of (i) the date set by the court for termination, if any; (ii) the death of either party; or (iii) the remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse.   However, regardless of how long the court orders alimony to be paid, even if alimony is ordered on a permanent basis…

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An Alimony Award

Alimony can be awarded on a periodic basis, which is typically monthly, or in one or more lump sum payments.  It can either be awarded for a specific period of time, or can be awarded on a permanent basis (indefinitely).  The specifics of an alimony award will depend on the facts of the case and…

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What Happens at an Alimony Hearing

At a hearing, both parties present evidence regarding his/her respective gross and net incomes, his/her current reasonable living expenses, information regarding his/her marital standard of living in the years before separation, and other relevant factors.  The dependent spouse will introduce evidence to determine the difference between his/her reasonable monthly needs compared to his/her net monthly…

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Factors Affecting Amount and Duration of Alimony

If a court determines that there is a dependent spouse and a supporting spouse, the court can order an alimony award, so long as the award is equitable, after considering the relevant factors of the case.  Although a court has wide discretion in determining the amount and duration of an alimony award, North Carolina law…

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Requirements to Establish Alimony: Supporting Spouse and Dependent Spouse

Court-ordered alimony is only available from a “supporting spouse” to a “dependent spouse,” meaning only a dependent spouse may receive alimony.  North Carolina law defines a dependent spouse as “a husband or wife, who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of…

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What is Alimony?

Alimony is defined under North Carolina law as “an order for payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, or in an action for…

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When Does Post-Separation Support End?

Pursuant to statute, post-separation support terminates at the earlier of (i) the date set by the court for termination, if any; (ii) the date of death of either party; (iii) the occurrence of the remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse; (iv) or the date on which alimony is allowed or denied.

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