Defending Against a Spouse Seeking Alimony

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

The end of a marriage can often be turbulent as couples try to sort out what their lives are going to look like apart. One of the issues that can create conflict is alimony, which is already a sore subject because it involves one spouse paying either a lump sum or continuous payments to support the other spouse following their divorce. Making matters worse is that alimony is one of the few areas of family law where North Carolina allows courts to consider the “marital misconduct” of a spouse when ordering alimony.

Why is this a big deal? Because North Carolina is an absolute divorce state, which is a form of no-fault divorce that allows courts to grant a divorce based on the length of the couple’s separation, rather than putting couples in a position to fight in court over why the marriage should end and who behaved badly.

These same explosive allegations that are avoided elsewhere can take center stage in an alimony battle—and can be costly if a judge finds them credible. Therefore, if your spouse is seeking alimony, you have a legal right to defend yourself and need a family law attorney who understands how to mount such a defense.

Illicit Sexual Behavior By the Dependent Spouse

Under the alimony laws of North Carolina, a dependent spouse is entitled to alimony if he or she can prove that the other spouse engaged in “illicit sexual behavior” during the marriage, which is the legal term for adultery or an affair. In addition, if this is successfully proven, then it also weighs into the amount and length of an alimony judgment against the supporting spouse.

On the flip side of that, if a supporting spouse can demonstrate that the dependent spouse engaged in illicit sexual behavior between the date of marriage and the date of separation, then the dependent spouse is barred from receiving alimony. An attorney defending a client against an alimony request can work with you to gather “admissible evidence” of the dependent spouse’s infidelity.

Marital Misconduct

When courts decide how much alimony to award, it can weigh the supporting spouse’s marital misconduct as a factor. There is no magic formula or tangible guidance as to how much marital misconduct will actually cost a dependent spouse when it comes to an alimony award—making it a wild card.

We understand that there are two sides to every story, and when it comes to alimony proceedings you have a right to tell your story. Not only can you tell your story, but your attorney can utilize evidence that the marital misconduct allegations are false.

Contact New Direction Family Law

An alimony battle can be emotional and costly. At New Direction Family Law, our attorneys provide high quality representation to men and women who want to resolve the issues that come with a divorce, including alimony. Our attorneys are professional, effective, and proven. We listen to our clients and provide custom tailored legal advice to help you attain resolution. Let us represent you. Our firm serves Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an initial consultation or visit us at our website.