What Is the Difference Between Alimony and Post-Separation Support?

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What Is the Difference Between Alimony and Post-Separation Support?

If you are involved in a separation or divorce, you may have questions about receiving post-separation support or alimony. While these two forms of spousal support share some similarities, you’ll want to understand the differences between them too.

What Is Post-Separation Support?

Post-separation support is the payment of spousal support when the separation period begins but before the court orders payment of alimony. Post-separation support requires a supporting spouse to pay a dependent spouse regular (usually monthly) amounts of money determined by the court. Typically, post-separation support payments end when alimony is awarded or denied, or the court sets a date by which the support must be fully paid up.

To receive or have to pay post-separation support, the following requirements must be met:

  • The spouses were legally married
  • The spouse seeking support is the dependent spouse
  • The dependent spouse can’t meet their financial needs
  • The spouse from whom support is sought is the supporting spouse
  • The supporting spouse can afford to pay support

What Is Alimony?

At some point during the divorce proceedings, the court may make an order awarding or denying alimony. Alimony is spousal support that continues after the divorce is final.  The Court will consider all relevant factors in making a determination of the amount and duration of alimony.

To receive or have to pay alimony, the following requirements must be met:

  • The spouses were legally married
  • The spouse seeking support is the dependent spouse
  • The spouse from whom support is sought is the supporting spouse
  • The alimony order is equitable considering all relevant factors

Factors Affecting Alimony and Post-Separation Support Awards

When deciding whether to award alimony or post-separation support, the court will consider all the circumstances of the marriage. Factors that may affect approval of an award, its amount, or its duration include:

  • The spouses’ relative earnings and earnings capacities
  • Their ages and their physical/mental conditions
  • The length of the marriage
  • Contributions that a spouse made to the other spouse’s education or training
  • The spouses’ financial positions, including debts owed
  • The spouses’ expenses reasonably required for support
  • Their responsibilities for supporting children or a former spouse

These factors, and others, weigh into the court’s decision about a spousal support award. Notably, adultery or marital misconduct by the dependent spouse may result in denial of alimony. In contrast, marital misconduct does not automatically bar an award of post-separation support.

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.

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