In North Carolina, post separation support (PSS) and alimony can be awarded to dependent spouses for the purpose of meeting reasonable needs during and after divorce. Dependence is defined by a number of economic factors, including level of dependence, accustomed standard of living, ability to earn and other factors. PSS and alimony must be alleged before a final divorce is entered or your right to have that claim considered will be barred.
Post separation support is a temporary measure to ensure that dependent spouses are able to meet on-going necessities during separation. Post separation support may end when a divorce is granted, on a date stated in the PSS order or when the court determines alimony.
Alimony is the legal term describing spousal support after divorce. Outside of economic dependency or marital misconduct, alimony is unavailable in North Carolina. Alimony, like the other relatively separate issues in your divorce case, can be agreed upon by the parties based on any number of criteria. And in most cases, alimony terminates at a designated point or when certain criteria have been met, such as death, remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse. Alimony, unlike child support which has specific guidelines, is built on a framework of need versus ability to pay, with the perspective that all parties maintain some semblance of the lifestyle they had during the marriage. If alimony has to be decided by the court, the court may take property distribution into consideration when considering alimony. Because of this, alimony claims are generally heard by the court following trial or settlement regarding distribution of marital property.
Alimony is considered taxable income to the receiving spouse and a tax deduction to the paying spouse. Consult with your tax advisor for further information regarding this aspect of spousal support.
If you have questions about how divorce might affect your holdings and financial status, consult a qualified divorce attorney. Rhonda Moorefield is an experienced and knowledgeable divorce trial attorney in Asheville, North Carolina. Rhonda is a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law. She can help guide you through these trying decisions creatively so that your bottom line is protected.