Our Wake County divorce attorney at the Law Office of James Tyler Brooks can assist you with any spousal support issues arising from your separation. There are two potential claims for spousal support that may be applicable to your separation and divorce:
- Post separation support
A separation agreement or judgment of the court can resolve spousal support issues.
Post Separation Support
Post separation support (PSS) is money paid by one spouse, at the onset of a separation agreement or court judgment, to the other to help pay the living expenses of the other spouse. PSS is merely temporary–it ends at an agreed-upon expiration date or when an alimony claim is either awarded or denied.
We frequently resolve post-separation support issues for our clients through negotiation, memorialized in a separation agreement, with their spouses’ representation. In cases where we are unable to reach an agreement, we then proceed with our PSS claim to a family court judge for resolution.
You should know that not all spouses going through a separation and divorce are entitled to PSS. The law outlines the following baseline criteria for administering post separation support:
- spouse seeking PSS is a “dependent spouse”
- spouse from whom PSS is sought is a “supporting spouse”
- resources of the dependent spouse are not adequate to meet his or her needs
- supporting spouse has the means and ability to pay.
If you are separating or have separated from your spouse, contact a family law attorney in Wake County to discuss potential claims that you or your spouse may have for post separation support. The Law Office of James Tyler Brooks is here to help.
As a defense to a PSS claim, the supporting spouse may claim that the dependent spouse has committed acts of “marital misconduct.” If the supporting spouse makes such a claim, the dependent spouse is allowed to offer evidence of the supporting spouse’s marital misconduct. Infidelity is the most frequently claimed act of marital misconduct that we see in divorce cases.
Marital misconduct does not, however, play the same role in PSS that it plays in alimony claims. Marital misconduct may not automatically preclude the dependent spouse from receiving PSS. Marital misconduct is merely a factor for the court’s consideration in determining the amount and duration of post separation support.
Alimony is support paid by a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for a stated period of time or until the occurrence of certain specified events, such as remarriage or death. The Law Office of James Tyler Brooks can often negotiate and settle claims of alimony in a separation agreement rather than by a judge. If, however, the parties cannot reach an agreement with regard to alimony, the party seeking alimony may file a complaint with the court.
A judge will determine alimony after careful consideration of economic factors outlined in the North Carolina General Statutes. Factors that a judge in divorce court may consider include the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the spouses, the income and income earning capacity of the spouses, the standard of living established during the marriage, and other economic factors bearing on the spouses’ respective needs and ability to pay.
Unlike claims for post separation support, marital misconduct plays a large role in alimony cases. For instance, by statute, a supporting spouse must pay alimony if he or she committed adultery during the marriage and prior to the date of separation. Likewise, spouses considered dependent and is otherwise entitled to alimony relinquish his or her claim if he or she committed adultery during the marriage and prior to the date of separation.
If you have or you believe your spouse has committed adultery, you should contact James Tyler Brooks, a divorce attorney in Raleigh and Cary, NC, to evaluate potential alimony claims or possible defenses to claims for alimony.