Spousal Support & Alimony Attorneys
Spousal Support Lawyers in North Carolina & South Carolina
Every state has different laws pertaining to spousal support, but the general purpose of this monetary support is to provide some sort of financial help to an ex-partner in the event of a divorce or legal separation. The duration of spousal support in North Carolina or South Carolina can be determined through litigation or mediation, and the amount the dependent spouse is awarded will be calculated based on specific factors.
If you are the dependent spouse seeking a spousal support lawyer in North Carolina or South Carolina to protect yourself financially, you’ve come to the right place. Collins Family & Elder Law Group is experienced in divorce law and can help you work to achieve a favorable outcome. If you are the spouse seeking spousal support from your partner, we can help you as well and fight to make sure you get the income you’re entitled to.
Regardless of your circumstances, it is important to work with our experienced spousal support attorneys in NC or SC. We have the experience needed to protect your rights and finances.
What Is Spousal Support & Who Gets It?
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is the financial obligation that one spouse has to another after the dissolution of a marriage. According to the Federal Divorce Act, spousal support should be paid by the higher-earning spouse when there is a large earning gap between the incomes of two spouses after they separate and when the lower-earning spouse has historically relied on their partner’s income.
Because this isn’t always the case, however, the courts sometimes determine that the spouse with the lower salary may not receive spousal support because of their high-value assets, or because their low income is not connected in any way to the marriage. If those involved in a dissolved marriage make similar amounts of money, a court usually won’t award alimony to either spouse.
How to Get Spousal Support in North & South Carolina
In order for spousal support to be awarded in North and South Carolina, you must first prove to the court that there is a need for spousal support. Some separating spouses need financial help in order to get back on their feet after a divorce, but others simply want to try to make it on their own.
In either case, your financial circumstances must be carefully considered when you are determining whether you need spousal support. Because alimony will have a direct impact on both the payer and the recipient, it is crucial to come to a mutually agreeable amount through mediation and collaborative law. If you are unable to agree upon a spousal support plan, the court may intervene.
How Does the Court Determine Spousal Support in North & South Carolina?
The court can determine an alimony award based on many factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- Your roles during the marriage
- The income each spouse currently has
- Each spouse’s standard of living
- Any debt collected
- Financial obligations
- Each spouse’s needs
- Whether one person supported the education or training of the other during the marriage
Through mediation, our legal team can seek a level of payment that makes sense to your family and can try to provide you with the standard of living you have become accustomed to.
What Type of Alimony Can I Receive?
Once one spouse has been granted an award of alimony, they may receive one of several types, including:
- Lump-Sum Alimony: This type of alimony is less common than others, as it is a lump sum paid to the receiving spouse all at once, with no later alteration possible.
- Modifiable Alimony: To account for the changing circumstances of life, modifiable alimony is spousal support that can be modified later. Life changes that warrant an alimony modification must be significant events, such as the loss of a job.
- Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony is support that is paid to the receiving spouse for the rest of his or her life.
- Temporary Alimony: Temporary alimony is support paid only for a specified period of time. It is intended merely to help the dependent spouse get back on his or her feet after a marriage terminates.
In divorce mediation, we can help our clients arrive at an amount of spousal support that each of them can mutually agree upon. We will explain why support may be necessary, why you should feel good about receiving it, and why you should feel comfortable with paying it.
Spousal Support FAQ
Get a Consultation from Our Legal Team Today
Need a spousal support lawyer in NC or SC? If you are ready to discuss your divorce matters with an experienced and compassionate spousal support team, contact Collins Family & Elder Law Group. We can offer legal advice that considers your financial future, your family, and your rights.
Reach us online or call (704) 289-3250 to set up an initial consultation today.
How does marital misconduct/infidelity impact spousal support in NC and SC?
In some cases, marital misconduct—or infidelity during the marriage—can affect an alimony award. In North Carolina, the judge may consider whether one spouse had an affair during the marriage and use this as a reason to refuse spousal support to the cheating spouse. Additionally, judges in North Carolina are required to award spousal support to the dependent spouse when the other spouse had an affair before the couple separated.
There may be some exceptions to this rule. When both spouses commit adultery, the judge can review the details of the case before deciding to award alimony and to whom alimony should be awarded (if anyone). Additionally, if one spouse had an affair during the marriage, but the other spouse “condoned” the behavior—e.g., by continuing to live and remain married to the cheating spouse after learning of the affair—the judge may decide not to award spousal support.
In South Carolina, judges are prohibited from awarding spousal support to spouses who commit adultery if the affair occurred before the two spouses signed a marital settlement or property agreement and before the court ordered separate maintenance and support (in applicable circumstances). Additionally, SC judges can use the presence of infidelity in a marriage to award alimony to the other spouse, as well as how much the innocent spouse will receive.
Is spousal support tax deductible for the paying spouse and taxable for the recipient?
In the past, alimony was tax deductible for the paying spouses in both North and South Carolina. However, recent legislation in both states has changed this. Now, in North and South Carolina, spousal support payments are no longer tax deductible for the paying spouse or taxable for the receiving spouse. This is true of any divorce agreement that occurred in 2019 or later.
When can spousal support be modified in the Carolinas?
In North and South Carolina, an individual may request that a spousal support order be modified when there has been a “substantial and material change in circumstances.” Certain events qualify as being significant enough to warrant a spousal support modification. These include the loss of a job, a new illness or injury, a disability, an increase or decrease in income, an inheritance, a change in one spouse’s living situation, or a financial emergency.
Not all changes in circumstances qualify for a modification to an existing spousal support order. For example, if one spouse was raising a young child and is now returning to work, this may not be considered a substantial change in income. The same is true if one spouse experiences a temporary or particularly brief change in income, suffers from health issues that do not affect their financial situation, or accumulates debts that the judge deems unwarranted (e.g., debts related to unnecessary and/or excessive purchases).