Alimony/Dependant Spouse


What defines dependant spouse?

If one has a job and is able to live on their own, why would the abandoned spouse (supporting spouse) be expected to pay the dependant spouse?

As I understand it NC laws want to treat marriage like a “partnership.” I have been in a couple of business partnerships and none of these partnerships provided me with a penny once dissolved. If you marry for “better or worse” and your spouse abandons you then haven’t they broken the contract? Why would the court award them, even if they needed the money?

Lastly, given the complexity of marital laws why aren’t people required to read and sign a statement saying they fully understand and agree with all components before marrying. My guess is that many young and uninformed people get married only to be bit by this when it doesn’t work…



“Dependent spouse” means a spouse, whether husband or wife, 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.
If your ex is unable to maintain her standard of living without using a portion of your income, she will be entitled to receive alimony and or post separation support.


What does “substantially” mean in this context?

Also, when is “standard of living” measured back to? Say I was married 20 years and lived in poverty for the first 10, got an education during the course of the marriage and lived a middle class life the last 10… Does the judge look at the last 10, whole 20 or what?

Further, is it all about the dependent spouse? For instance, my ex and I split and our son (20 yrs) still lives with me. Can I include my expenses for him since he still lives with me and doesn’t work? Another related question is my “standard of living.” Isn’t that considered?


Substantially means that a dependant spouse depends mostly on the supporting spouse’s income to me his or her needs.
The standard of living is viewed as the most recent in the marriage.
Your son’s expenses will not be included in an alimony or post-separation support hearing.
Your reasonable expenses and needs will also be considered. Spousal support is a balance between demonstrated need of the dependant spouse and the ability to pay of the supporting spouse.