Are you in need of financial support from your spouse? Are you the one on the hook for spousal support? Whatever the case may be, there are three things you need to know that have a major impact on your financial case.
1. How a Judge Decides Your Case:
In North Carolina, a judge has to find one spouse is the dependent spouse and the other is the supporting spouse. Meaning, one is dependent on the other for financial support. Gender doesn’t play a role in this decision at all. A man or a woman can be a dependent or supporting spouse.
The Judge will decide if the dependent spouse has enough income to cover his or her reasonable needs. The Judge will also look at whether the supporting spouse has the ability to pay. (i.e. his or her income is more than his or her reasonable expenses.)
There are two claims for spousal support: post-separation support and alimony. Post-separation support remains in effect until the alimony is granted or denied. A judge has discretion in deciding the amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony.
2. Required Documents:
Wake County requires mandatory “initial disclosures.” The parties have to exchange a lot of financial documents. Examples include recent paystubs, W-2s, etc.
Wake County also requires both parties exchange financial affidavits. The affidavit shows all your income and expenses and is like a budget. This is the single most important document in your spousal support case. The Judge will use it as a tool to help them make their decision. Since it is such a crucial document, it’s important to take your time with it. Don’t just estimate your numbers. Verify them. Print out your last 3-6 months of your bank statements and credit card statements. Then average your expenses for each expense category. It will take a lot of time but it will be worth it. Otherwise, you will pay your attorney to do it for you.
3. Duration of Your Case:
Post-Separation Support: The post-separation support (or temporary support) hearing is usually scheduled within 30 days of filing the complaint. The hearing usually takes 1 hour. That’s 30 mins for both sides to present their case. Post-separation support cases typically resolve within 60-90 days of hiring our firm. However, your case may take more or less time depending on the facts.
Alimony/Motion to Modify Alimony These cases are harder to estimate duration due to a lot of factors. But, on average, the case should resolve between 9 and 12 months from the date you hire our firm. The hearing is usually scheduled to take a full day.
Check out this extra tid-bit of information to learn more about your spousal support case.
Bonus Fact: Affairs Have an Effect on the Outcome of Spousal Support Cases
Did you know affairs have an effect on spousal support cases? Technically, whether “illicit sexual behavior” occured is the determining factor. Illicit sexual behavior includes vaginal or anal intercourse, cunnilingus, and fellatio. If a dependent spouse did it during the marriage, a Judge won’t award alimony. If the supporting spouse did it, a court has to award alimony. If both parties did, a court has discretion on whether to award alimony or not. Of course, you have to prove in court the other spouse engaged in it. And, if the innocent spouse forgave the other, the court will not consider it when deciding whether to award alimony or not. Check with your attorney to find out exactly what qualifies as forgiveness.
Also, North Carolina still recognizes claims for alienation of affection and criminal conversation. Meaning, a third party can still be held liable for breaking up a marriage.
Notify your attorney as soon as possible if you or your spouse has had an affair.
Want to Know More About Your Rights for Alimony?
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