Spousal support in North Carolina is governed by Statute. Spousal support is a way to supplement your income but will most likely not replace it. In order to determine if you are eligible for spousal postseparation support, you must show that 1) you are a “dependent spouse”, 2) the other spouse is a “supporting spouse”, 3) that based on factors such as income and accustomed standard of living, the dependent spouse lacks resources adequate to meet his or her reasonable needs, and 4) the supporting spouse has the ability to pay

1) A “Dependent spouse” as defined by statute is “a spouse, whether 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 maintenance and support from the other spouse”.

2) A “Supporting spouse” as defined by statute is “a spouse, whether husband or wife, upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for maintenance and support or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support”

3) Specific factors to be considered include the financial needs of the parties, the parties’ accustomed standard of living, the present employment income and other recurring earnings, income-earning abilities, debt obligations, expenses reasonably necessary to support each of the parties, and each party’s legal obligations to support any other persons.

4) Does the supporting spouse actually make enough money to pay the dependent spouse?

Sounds pretty cut and dry right? Don’t we all wish it were! This is one of the rare instances in which marital misconduct actual comes into play. A judge has the discretion to deny support entirely if there is a finding of marital misconduct. As you can see, postseparation support is a financial balancing act based upon many different factors. It is vitally important that you contact an attorney to speak with them about whether or not you may be entitled to spousal support. They will not be able to give you a definitive amount, but an attorney can help guide you through this difficult process.

As always, contact us to get the help you need when you are struggling to deal with your divorce.