Alimony and Post-Separation Support

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Post Separation Support and Alimony

Separation and divorce create cash flow problems for most couples. It costs more to support two households than one, and for many of our clients, making ends meet is foremost on their minds. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, and the spouse with the lower income cannot cover his or her expenses with the income he or she earns, post-separation support or alimony may be appropriate.

In North Carolina, the law provides for two kinds of spousal support: Post-Separation Support (PSS) and Alimony. Post-separation support is temporary support meant to meet the immediate shorter-term financial needs of a spouse with insufficient income, while alimony is meant to provide support to that spouse over a longer term. Whereas the amount of child support is based on a formula and is relatively straightforward to predict and determine, the amount post-separation support and alimony is within the discretion of a judge to decide after a hearing in which both spouses’ incomes and reasonable needs and expenses are presented. If one spouse has a shortfall, and the other spouse has excess income, a court can order that the spouse with excess income pay post-separation support or alimony to the other. While an award of post-separation support and alimony is based primarily on financial grounds, the court can consider marital misconduct in determining the amount and duration of support.

The judge has the discretion to decide the amount, duration, and form of support payments. Because post-separation support and alimony are not determined by a formula and the court has discretion in setting the amount and duration of payment, this is one of the more difficult issues to assess and

negotiate, and the experience of your attorney is especially important. We will thoroughly analyze your particular situation and advise you whether alimony or post-separation support is appropriate in your case.

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