Raleigh Post Separation Support Lawyers
Post separation support is typically temporary in nature and may be awarded for a short period of time or until such time as an award of alimony is entered. By law it must end at the earlier of: the date set by the court for termination, the date of death of either party, the remarriage of the recipient, the cohabitation of the recipient or the date on which alimony is allowed or denied. Like alimony, either the husband or the wife may request post separation support. Since post separation support is a relatively short hearing it is usually one of the first requests for relief filed for by the dependent spouse. The first step in determining if post separation support is appropriate is whether the spouse seeking the support is a dependent spouse. To make this determination it must be shown that there was a valid marriage and that the applying spouse is actually in need or substantially in need. To be “actually in need” the applying spouse will need to prove that they are unable to meet their current obligations and provide for their own maintenance and support. To be “substantially in need” the applying spouse will need to show that although they are able to currently meet their needs that they will be unable to continue to do so.
When considering the amount of post separation of support the court will look at what the accustomed standard of living was during the last several years before the separation. For instance, if the spouses were very frugal but now one spouse wants to start taking vacations that will likely not be considered to be part of the accustomed standard of living. Similarly, if one spouse decides to trade in a perfectly working and reliable sedan for a fancy sports car then the courts will not likely consider that to be part of the accustomed standard of living.
Another consideration for the court when determining post separation support is what the income earning ability is of the dependent spouse if the dependent spouse is unemployed or underemployed. Additional factors such as a spouses present health conditions, the need to care for a minor child, age, education, length of time from the work force are often relevant considerations for the court to review.
Marital misconduct is treated differently in post separation support than it is for alimony. According to the North Carolina General Statutes the court may only consider the marital misconduct by the dependent spouse occurring on or before the date of separation and “when the judge considers these acts by the dependent spouse, the judge shall consider any marital misconduct by the supporting spouse…” Thus, the supporting spouse has the choice to introduce evidence of marital misconduct by the dependent spouse; the dependent spouse does not have the option of introducing evidence of marital misconduct by the supporting spouse unless the supporting spouse has first entered such evidence against the dependent spouse.
In summary, post separation support is more concerned with the narrow issue of immediate economic aid and financial relief to the dependent spouse as well as the ability of the supporting spouse to provide for such needs. If you are ready to learn more about post separation support and how we can help you achieve a fair level of post separation support, please contact us for a confidential consultation. At Marshall & Taylor we are here to guide you through what can be a complicated and emotionally exhaustive procedure to make it as easy and as comfortable as possible.