Alimony & Post Separation Support

Post-Separation Support and Alimony are methods where a person may seek support from their spouse while the parties separate in anticipation of ending their marriage. These terms are similar; but, they do differ in several ways.

Post-Separation Support, also known as PSS or PPS, is a temporary form of support that a person receives from their spouse while the parties terminate the marriage. Typically, PSS usually ends when the person seeking support has their claim for alimony either awarded or denied. 

PSS is a temporary agreement and requires several things to be established before ordered by the Court. The party seeking PSS must show:

  1. That the person seeking PSS is a “dependent” spouse;
  2. That the other spouse is a “supporting” spouse;
  3. That the person seeking support does not have the resources to meet their own needs, and the needs of any dependents they may have;
  4. That the “supporting” spouse has the ability to pay PSS.

Alimony is a long-term form of support for a dependent spouse. Alimony awards can be structured for a finite period of time, or sometimes for the life of the parties. This usually depends on the facts leading to the parties splitting-up and how long the parties were married. Almost always, alimony payments are structured to be paid on a monthly basis. Marital misconduct is a major factor in determining whether a dependent spouse is entitled to receive alimony and could act as a defense to obtaining alimony if the “dependent” spouse had an extramarital affair.

Some of the important factors to consider for the purposes of PSS and alimony are:

  • The marital misconduct of either of the spouses;
  • The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
  • The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
  • The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of one spouse caring for a minor child affects the parties;
  • The standard of living the spouses established during the marriage;
  • The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary for the spouse seeking alimony to get educational or vocational training to meet their own economic needs;
  • The assets and liabilities of the spouses, including existing legal obligations of support;
  • The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
  • The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  • The relative needs of the spouse;
  • The tax ramifications of the award;
  • Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties.

Am I entitled to alimony if I had an affair before separating from my spouse?

Possibly, but there is a good chance that you may be ineligible for alimony if you had extra-marital sexual relations prior to separating from your spouse.

Am I entitled to alimony if I began a relationship after separating from my spouse but before I was officially divorce?

If you meet the other legal requirements for an alimony claim, a relationship after separation will not prohibit a party from being awarded alimony.

What if both my spouse and I had extra-marital relationships before separating?

This situation is likely to be complicated and will likely require a detailed analysis of your particular situation?

Is an award of alimony permanent?

Alimony is usually not permanent. The Court will decide the duration of alimony after it hears all of the relevant evidence on the issue. 

Can my alimony award end for any reason once ordered by the Court?

Typically an alimony award will end if: (1) the person paying alimony dies, (2) the person receiving alimony dies, or (3) if the person receiving alimony cohabitates with another adult in a marriage-like relationship, (4) remarriage of the party receiving alimony, or (5) the parties reconciling and resuming their marital relationship.

Do I have to go to Court to receive alimony or PSS?

No. The parties are free to enter into a Separation Agreement that addresses the issues or the parties may enter into a Consent Order as it relates to PSS or alimony.

Are PSS and Alimony the same as Child Support?

No. PSS and alimony are intended to support the spouse and child support is intended to help the minor child(ren). You may be eligible for both PSS/alminoy AND child support.

We are happy to discuss your circumstances with you to see whether you would be eligible to receive, or discuss ways to defend against,  Post-Separation Support and/or alimony. Feel free to call us today at 336-379-0539 or contact us to schedule a consultation. Our office is located at 436 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27401.