At Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, our experienced family lawyers are able to confidently and effectively advise our clients about spousal support issues which may arise after separation or divorce. We understand that the mere mention of the word “alimony” might stir your emotions and start your stomach churning. If your spouse filed for divorce and sought alimony, you might see it as a double injustice—your marriage is ending, and you have to pay for it too. If you are seeking spousal support, you might feel hurt and confused that your spouse is resistant to helping support you, even though you interrupted your career to stay home and care for your children. At Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, our knowledgeable attorneys can teach you about North Carolina’s laws on spousal support, which will help you move from your emotional reaction to your unfortunate situation, to problem solving to achieve your goals.
Under North Carolina law, spousal support may be awarded in two ways: post separation support and alimony. The first type of support, known as post-separation support or PSS, is a temporary form of spousal support awarded from the date of separation until the entry of an alimony award, or the dismissal of the alimony claim. This type of support is based on your current needs and expenses in excess of your income, as well as your spouse’s current ability to pay. Alimony, on the other hand, is a more permanent award intended to provide financially for lower-income spouses and prevent an unfair economic effect just because of a divorce. Alimony is generally awarded in one of three ways:
- Rehabilitative Alimony – The most common type of alimony in North Carolina, rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a fixed period of time in order to enable you or your spouse to obtain further training, or education, to be more able to support yourself.
- Lump Sum Alimony – Generally agreed to in settlements rather than ordered by the court, lump sum alimony is a one-time payment of alimony rather than periodic payments over the course of a designated time frame. You should use caution with lump sum alimony, as there are significant potential tax consequences.
- Lifetime Alimony – The least common, although still awarded by judges in some circumstances; lifetime alimony includes periodic payments which terminate only upon the death or remarriage of the dependent spouse.
Whether or not you are eligible to receive alimony, as well as which type of alimony you should pursue, depends on the facts of your marriage and the current financial situation of both parties. Because judges vary greatly in their opinions about whether to award alimony in each case, uncertainty about the precise amount of alimony that may be awarded or the number of years it may be paid is not unusual. With the help of an experienced lawyer from Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, though, you will know the best course of action to take towards an alimony decision you can live with after your divorce.