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Spousal Support

When a couple divorces, one spouse may need financial support to help with living expenses. Money that is paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce is called spousal support, also sometimes known as alimony. A Lake Norman divorce attorney will assist you throughout the divorce process and help determine whether you need to request or pay spousal support and if so, in what amount.

Types of Spousal Support

There are two main types of spousal support in North Carolina - post separation support and alimony. Post separation support is also sometimes called temporary support. It is designed to provide one party with the money necessary for immediate living expenses while the divorce is in progress. This type of support is often necessary because the parties have not yet distributed their assets. Temporary support is only in place until the divorce is resolved. At that time, the judge will consider more permanent support solution, also known as alimony.

Alimony is permanent support that is paid from one party to the other for a specific duration of time after the divorce is final. Permanent support is typically made part of the divorce order. It may be paid in a lump sum or more commonly on a structured monthly basis.

How is Spousal Support Determined?

Many factors go into the decision of whether spousal support is necessary and if so, how much it should be. As part of the divorce proceedings, both parties must provide financial information to the court. This is generally done with an Affidavit of Financial Standing. Both parties provide details of their monthly income and financial needs. The affidavit is a sworn statement that must provide truthful information about your finances.

Both parties need to complete affidavits. You will need to provide proof of your income and expenses. For example, you must provide a current W2 that shows your regular income. While this is a rather straightforward provision for most people, the information can become more complex, especially if either party is self-employed.

Individual expenses must be itemized for each of the parties. If one person will have legal responsibility of the children, their expenses are also included. Some examples of individual expenses are health insurance, clothing, entertainment, car insurance, life insurance, and child care costs.

In addition to individual expenses, the court must also review shared expenses. These are costs that both parties pay together as a family. For example, the monthly mortgage payment, utility bills, and other household expenses may be included here.

With this information, the court will review and compare the reasonable needs and expenses of both parties. Both sides have the right to challenge the information. For instance, one party may challenge the income of the other party. They may say that the income is higher than what was stated. At the same time, a challenge of the expenses may also be made. One party may contend that the other party has over-inflated their monthly expenses.

Resolving Alimony Disputes

Disputes regarding alimony are not uncommon. Alimony can become an area of dispute between couples. An experienced Lake Norman divorce attorney will be able to assist in the process. While the final decision is up to the judge, your attorney can play an instrumental role in trying to gather, review and present the documentation necessary in these types of cases.

Once permanent alimony is ordered, it can be extremely difficult to modify. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that it is settled properly at the time of your divorce. If you have questions about the information your spouse provided, you should voice them before it is too late. The judge may also take marital misconduct into consideration when making decisions regarding alimony. These issues can be complicated. The judge will make an order of alimony if it is proven to be warranted.

Permanent alimony is usually paid from one former spouse to the other in regular monthly installments. In general, alimony will continue until the spouse receiving alimony remarries or until one of the spouses passes away. Alimony is usually paid directly from one spouse to the other. If your spouse was ordered to pay alimony but is behind or has failed to pay, you have the right to take action. The court will enforce the alimony order and may require wage garnishment or other methods of securing payments that are due.

If you are going through a divorce, you need legal assistance from an experienced Lake Norman divorce attorney you can trust. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we are dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation possible. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your consultation.