Spousal Support

Otherwise known as postseparation support and alimony, spousal support arises in many divorce cases when there is a disparity in income. It may even be an issue when both parties earn approximately the same amount of income. North Carolina law allows spousal support when one spouse is a dependent spouse, the other is a supporting spouse, and the supporting spouse has a surplus of income that can provide for the dependent spouse’s income deficit. Spousal support is often determined by both spouses completing a Financial Affidavit to see whether their monthly income covers their monthly needs and expenses. You may have heard that you are entitled to maintain the same quality of life after separation as you did during the marriage. While this is technically true, realistically it is not always possible when supporting two households instead of one on the same amount of income.

Tax Effect of Alimony

In the past, spousal support was taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payor. This changed in the recent tax overhaul and now it is neither tax deductible nor taxable if it was ordered after December 31, 2018. The language in the order will control the tax effects of spousal support, so there are still exceptions to this general rule. 

Infidelity and Alimony

In North Carolina, infidelity plays an important role in spousal support. Pursuant to the relevant statute, “illicit sexual behavior” by a dependent spouse during the marriage and prior to separation will disqualify that spouse from receiving spousal support. Illicit sexual behavior by a supporting spouse during the marriage and prior to separation will make spousal support mandatory. When both spouses have engaged in illicit sexual behavior during the marriage, whether spousal support is awarded will be at the discretion of the judge. It is important to be honest with your attorney about any actual or suspected infidelity during your marriage when discussing spousal support. 


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