Child Support and Alimony
Resolving financial issues are critical for parties going through a separation and divorce. If the parties have minor children child support is an issue that must be determined. Child support is typically based upon the North Carolina Child Support Guidelines. Either Worksheet A, B, or C is used to determine how much child support should be paid by one parent to the other. Worksheet A is used if one parent has custody of a child for at least 243 nights per year. Worksheet B is used if each parent has the child in their custody for at least 123 nights per year. Worksheet C is used if one child is primarily with one parent and another child is primarily with the other parent.
Each party’s income and other relevant financial information is plugged into the appropriate Worksheet. The Child Support Schedule will then determine the amount of support that should be paid by one parent to the other. A parent may request a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines in certain cases. In high income cases the Guidelines are not used to determine child support. In those cases child support is determined based upon the child’s reasonable and necessary living expenses, each party’s ability to provide support for the child, the child’s accustomed standard of living, the estates of each party, and other factors that must be considered.
Child support is an important part of a Separation Agreement. If the parties are unable to make a decision as to child support on their own, a party can file a child support claim against the other party or can pursue a claim through Child Support Enforcement. A child support determination will then be made by a judge.
Alimony is support for a dependent spouse to be paid by a supporting spouse. A dependent spouse is one who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. A supporting spouse is a spouse upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for maintenance and support or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support. In layman’s terms, if a spouse is unable to maintain his or her accustomed standard of living following the separation given their income and reasonable expenses, then they may qualify as a dependent spouse. However, the income of the other spouse and his or her reasonable expenses must also be considered to determine if that person is a supporting spouse.
A determination as to whether or not a person is entitled to alimony payments, or is liable for alimony payments, typically involves a detailed analysis of each party’s income, potential income, and expenses.
It is no longer necessary to prove marital misconduct on the part of a spouse in order to be entitled to alimony. A determination as to entitlement to alimony is primarily based upon the parties’ finances. However, marital misconduct can be considered by the court in ruling upon issues pertaining to alimony. Decisions as to alimony should include the amount of alimony to be paid, how it will be paid (biweekly, monthly, annually), and how long it will be paid. The events that will terminate alimony (such as remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse) should also be a part of any decision related to alimony.
Mr. Dombalis has extensive experience in negotiating separation agreements which include provisions for child support and alimony. Whether you are a party seeking child support and alimony, or a party from whom alimony and child support is being sought, Mr. Dombalis will use his experience and knowledge in this area of the law to guide you through the process.
Please contact Mr. Dombalis for an appointment if you would like to discuss your separation and divorce and any questions that you may have about alimony and child support.