Post Separation Support & Alimony
Alimony is based on the reasoning that a supporting spouse has an absolute obligation to support a dependent spouse.
Either husband or wife may request Post Separation Support (PSS) and/or permanent alimony, which is in addition to child support. To qualify for spousal support, you must prove that:
- The parties are lawfully married;
- The party seeking support is the dependent spouse;
- The party from whom support is sought is the supporting spouse;
- The dependent spouse does not have sufficient resources to meet their needs; and
- The supporting spouse has the ability to pay support.
While it is not necessary to prove marital fault in order to obtain alimony, the judge may consider evidence of marital fault. Marital fault may include:
- Illicit sexual behavior including but not limited to adultery.
- Involuntary separation of the spouses in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought.
- Malicious turning out of doors.
- Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse.
- Such indignities as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
- Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion or concealment of assets.
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
- Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one’s means and condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
If spousal support cannot be agreed upon, our attorneys are prepared to go to court and present evidence and arguments for PSS or alimony on behalf of our clients. Clients will need to complete a Financial Standing Affidavit which is used to show the individual’s short-fall of funding which is the amount sought as spousal support.
Types of alimony
There are several general categories of alimony, which can be combined:
Generally awarded when the recipient is younger, or able to eventually enter or return to the work force and become financially self-supporting. This type of alimony may include paying for education to enable the recipient to become self-supporting. It is the most commonly awarded type of alimony. (Not recognized in NC)
Paid until either the death of the payor or the remarriage of the recipient. Generally, agreements or court orders which award permanent alimony include standard termination clauses that state alimony ends if the:
- Parties resume marital relations
- Recipient remarries
- Recipient cohabits with another adult
- Either party dies
- Stated expiration date is reached, if one was included in the agreement
Commonly referred to as Post Separation Support (PSS). Payments are made for a specific period of time, typically one year. This type of alimony may be awarded when one person may need financial assistance to get re-established.
Note: Rehabilitative, permanent, and temporary alimony is paid periodically (e.g., weekly or monthly).
One lump payment of alimony instead of periodic payments. You should consult with your tax attorney and/or Certified Public Accountant regarding the tax consequences of lump sum alimony prior to signing an agreement which awards lump sum alimony.