Different Kinds of Spousal Support

No matter who you are, you likely do not enjoy the thought of having to make spousal support payments to a spouse, especially when these spousal support payments arise out of a heated or bitter Waxhaw divorce. Indeed, the money you are paying every month is yours and you worked hard to earn it. Having to then turn around and hand some of that money over to a spouse - and in the middle of a divorce proceeding, to boot - is not an alluring thought. Unfortunately, however, sometimes this scenario is necessary in the context of divorce - depending on the type of spousal support issued by a North Carolina court. Read below to learn about the two kinds of spousal support that currently exist in North Carolina family law cases and how each of those types of support function.

Spousal Support Explained

As an initial matter, it is important to understand what spousal support is. Simply put, spousal support is money that is paid by one supporting spouse to another dependent spouse as a result of separation or divorce. Of note, spousal support is available to either spouse with no regard to gender - men and women can both pay and receive spousal support equally should a North Carolina court deem it necessary. In fact, the deciding factor regarding which spouse pays the other is based on the determination of upon who is dependent upon whom. If one party is determined to be the dependent spouse, he or she will receive a certain amount of money - based on another set of factors - for a set and defined period of time that is decided by the court.

There are two main types of spousal support that exist in Waxhaw, North Carolina.

The first type of spousal support is known as post-separation support (PSS) and is often referred to as temporary alimony in North Carolina and across the country. The purpose of a PSS award is to supply the dependent spouse with financial support while divorce proceedings are pending. PSS ensures a dependent spouse has the funds to cover his or her living expenses until a formal and permanent order of spousal support is entered by a North Carolina court at the end of the divorce. PSS awards in Waxhaw are decided fairly quickly because North Carolina courts wish to make sure dependent spouses can have the financial resources needed to survive on their own while waiting for other issues in the divorce to resolve.

Alimony is the second type of spousal support of North Carolina. Alimony is often referred to as spousal maintenance in North Carolina and other parts of the country. Unlike PSS, which is short-term support, alimony is provided to be long-term spousal payments. PSS is put in place because the issue of alimony is typically not taken up by North Carolina courts until far later in the divorce proceedings; often times, alimony is not addressed until many months after an initial divorce petition is filed with the court. An alimony award may last only a few months - just to enable a dependent to get back on his or her feet or it can also last for decades or the life of the dependent spouse.

Determining Spousal Support

No matter what type of spousal support, whether it is PSS or alimony, is at issue in your Waxhaw divorce, the North Carolina family court and judge handling your case is ultimately responsible for determining whether or not the reasonable financial needs and expenses of each spouse are satisfied. In order to undergo this analysis, both parties involved are required to complete and submit an Affidavit of Financial standing to the presiding court. This affidavit is a document that details an individual’s finances including their monthly expenses and income. Once the party finalizes their affidavit, they take the document to be signed before a notary public as a sworn document. Essentially, this affidavit acts like a personal profit and loss statement detailing monies that come in and out each month. Not surprisingly, it is critical that this financial document is as meticulous and precise as possible, as the party completing and submitting it must attest to its precision.

Once the documents are submitted to a North Carolina court, a judge will review the case, including the affidavits submitted by both parties. Either side will have an opportunity to refute the other’s affidavit, assuming he or she has cause and reason to do so. If neither party challenges the other’s financial affidavit, the court will make findings of fact regarding the spouses’ incomes and their expenses. The court will then use this information to determine any ongoing spousal support. While the financial numbers are important factors when a North Carolina court determines spousal support, they are not the sole consideration. Marital misconduct - including infidelity and/or marital waste - by either party are taken into consideration when making an alimony determination.

Family Law Attorneys in Waxhaw

As can be seen, determining spousal support can be a complicated process. To make certain that you realize your rights and obligations in Waxhaw, contact the North Carolina family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our experienced family law attorneys can explain your options in simple terms.