The events that lead to a divorce can sometimes be really unpleasant. The distrust, the accusations, and the misconduct that can end a relationship can unfortunately escalate as couples proceed toward their divorce and try to resolve their legal issues. Some couples are surprised to discover that North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to obtaining a divorce. This means that to obtain a divorce from a judge, a spouse only needs to prove that the couple has been separated for at least a year.
Alimony is different. In fact, under the alimony laws of North Carolina, if a court “finds that the supporting spouse participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior” “during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation, then the court shall order that alimony be paid to a dependent spouse.” This is a big deal, as a dependent spouse is entitled to an alimony award if the supporting spouse is found to have been unfaithful.
Defenses Against Alimony
Because of this law, it is not unheard of that a dependent spouse makes a false allegation of illicit sexual behavior to obtain an alimony award. If your spouse has made this false claim, there are ways for you to wage a defense.
- Contest the allegations of illicit sexual behavior. The dependent spouse has the burden to prove to the court the existence of the supporting spouse’s infidelity. Failure to meet this burden means that the dependent spouse is not automatically entitled to alimony. An experienced attorney can offer evidence to refute the allegations.
- Demonstrate that your spouse condoned the behavior. If it can be proven to the court that a dependent spouse actually condoned the supporting spouse’s sexual behavior, this moots the evidence from the court’s consideration.
- Show that your spouse engaged in illicit sexual behavior. If you are a supporting spouse and you can demonstrate that your dependent spouse actually engaged in illicit sexual behavior, then your spouse is not entitled to alimony.
Waging one of these defenses means that your attorney will require all of the information at your disposal to help refute the allegations against you or to prove your allegations against your spouse. Identify people who your spouse has accused you of infidelity with or with whom you believe your spouse had an affair. Work closely with your attorney to examine receipts, text messages, voice messages, emails, and social media activity. This includes a thorough review of both incriminating information and exculpatory information.
New Direction Family Law
If you are facing a divorce and want help resolving a spousal support or alimony issue, contact New Direction Family Law. We are a family law firm with attorneys who are knowledgeable and experienced regarding these complex legal issues. Our attorneys understand that your financial future is at stake and want to fight for you. Our office serves clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law