Spousal support is sometimes awarded during the separation period or following a divorce if one spouse relied on the other spouse’s income for survival.
Post separation support is support that is paid during the separation period, and is intended to be temporary. Alimony is support that is paid by court order or agreement that is expected to last past the separation period.
Both types of support are commonly called spousal support. In North Carolina, spousal support is paid by the “supporting spouse” to the “dependent spouse”. The general rule is that if the dependent spouse makes less money than the supporting spouse and is unable to support him or herself, then that person is entitled to support payments from the supporting spouse.
Spousal support can be temporary or permanent in nature depending on a number of factors. The parties are not required to leave spousal support amounts up to a judge. If the parties can agree on the amount and duration of payments, support can be settled by agreement or consent.
In most cases if a dependent spouse has an affair they will not be entitled to any spousal support.
A judge, not a jury, decides the terms of any alimony award. The judge must offer specific written reasons for granting or denying alimony and calculating the amount of any award. Either spouse may appeal a judge’s decision. If alimony is awarded, the dependent spouse may also be entitled to recover attorney’s fees.