Spousal Support

Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh Firm Led By Board Certified Spousal Support Lawyer

Serving the Triangle Area

North Carolina courts may order spousal support if one of the parties is financially dependent on the other and the supporting spouse can afford to pay. Led by a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law with more than a combined fifty years of experience serving clients in Durham-Chapel Hill, and having one of only a few practicing attorneys in Durham County to be Board Certified as a family law specialist by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization, Ellis Family Law can guide you through the process used to determine spousal support.

North Carolina provides two kinds of spousal support:

  • Post-separation support or PSS is temporary support paid to a dependent spouse. A dependent spouse is someone who was either financially dependent on the supporting spouse during the latter period of the marriage or is in need of support now. PSS can't be barred due to personal behavior of the dependent spouse.
  • Alimony may continue for a specific amount of time, until remarriage or cohabitation within a marriage like relationship, or death of either party. Alimony can be barred if the dependent spouse had an affair that was not condoned by the supporting spouse. "Condoned" means that when the supporting spouse found out about the affair, he or she forgave it. If the supporting spouse has an affair, however, the alimony statute states that the supporting spouse "shall" pay alimony. If both parties have an affair, the adultery has no effect on the alimony.

Did You Know: In North Carolina,

  • Both PSS and alimony are limited to the reasonable needs of the dependent spouse and the supporting spouse's ability to pay. Even if you have reasonable financial needs, the court can deny support if your spouse can't afford to pay it.
  • In North Carolina the courts use the inclination and opportunity doctrine as a method of establishing whether a spouse had an affair during the course of the marriage. The court does not necessarily require that you have tangible proof (i.e., videos, pictures, etc.), but you must be able to establish that there was an "inclination" and an "opportunity" for the adulterous conduct.

For more information about spousal support: Call Ellis Family Law at 919-688-9400 or fill out the contact form on this site.

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