Alimony Question

I have a question about alimony. My Ex is to still pay me for almost three years alimony once a month.

In less than two months, I’m moving from NC to Upstate NY to live with my parents for financial reasons. I have not been able to find a job and cannot afford to live where I am now. Plus, one of my children turned 18 last year, moved out-of-town and is attending college and my other younger child is moving to live with her father this summer. So, I’ve lost child support on one child and am soon to lose it on the other.

Now, my living arrangements with my parents will be living on their property in a separate house that they only keep only open in the summer months and early fall due to the cold weather, and I’ll be living in their main house with them the rest of the time. I plan to seek employment and hope to at some time pay them some rent and help out as much as I can financially with food, etc. In addition, I hope to be in my own place at some point when I can afford to do so, but it’s like I’m starting all over again.

My question: Is my Ex still obligated to pay me the alimony for the next 2 3/4 years as outlined in the Consent Order we signed several years ago? The reason I ask is I thought I read or heard somewhere over the years that moving in with family or obtaining a non-romantic same gender roommate for financial reasons could cause the loss of alimony. I am definitely not in any romantic or sexual relationship at the present time nor have I had any live-in boyfriends over the years.

Here’s the wording in the Consent Order that was filed in court pertaining to my question about alimony:

“Alimony payments shall terminate upon the occurrence of the earliest of the following events: (i) the death of Defendant or Plaintiff, (ii) the remarriage of Plaintiff, (iii) the reconcilation of Plaintiff and Defendant, (iv) the Plaintiff engaging in cohabitation as defined by law, or (v) the end of the ten-year period in which Defendant is to pay Plaintiff alimony as outlined above.”

Here is what the NC General Statute says:

"§ 50‑16.9. Modification of order.

(a) An order of a court of this State for alimony or postseparation support, whether contested or entered by consent, may be modified or vacated at any time, upon motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances by either party or anyone interested. This section shall not apply to orders entered by consent before October 1, 1967.

Any motion to modify or terminate alimony or postseparation support based on a resumption of marital relations between parties who remain married to each other shall be determined pursuant to G.S. 52‑10.2.

(b) If a dependent spouse who is receiving postseparation support or alimony from a supporting spouse under a judgment or order of a court of this State remarries or engages in cohabitation, the postseparation support or alimony shall terminate. Postseparation support or alimony shall terminate upon the death of either the supporting or the dependent spouse.

As used in this subsection, cohabitation means the act of two adults dwelling together continuously and habitually in a private heterosexual relationship, even if this relationship is not solemnized by marriage, or a private homosexual relationship. Cohabitation is evidenced by the voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties, and obligations which are usually manifested by married people, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to make lawful conduct which is made unlawful by other statutes.

© When an order for alimony has been entered by a court of another jurisdiction, a court of this State may, upon gaining jurisdiction over the person of both parties in a civil action instituted for that purpose, and upon a showing of changed circumstances, enter a new order for alimony which modifies or supersedes such order for alimony to the extent that it could have been so modified in the jurisdiction where granted. (1871‑2, c. 193, ss. 38, 39; 1883, c. 67; Code, ss. 1291, 1292; Rev., ss. 1566, 1567; 1919, c. 24; C.S., ss. 1666, 1667; 1921, c. 123; 1923, c. 52; 1951, c. 893, s. 3; 1953, c. 925; 1955, cc. 814, 1189; 1961, c. 80; 1967, c. 1152, s. 2; 1987, c. 664, s. 3; 1995, c. 319, s. 7.)"

Thank you for any information you can provide me.

Your ex is still obligated to pay alimony as outlined in the order, however your moving in with your parents may cause him to seek a modification of alimony based on a substantial change in circumstances in that your need could be seen as being substantially reduced based on your moving in with family. Moving in with family on its own is not a terminating factor for alimony according to NC law. Cohabitation refers to living with a romantic partner.

Thank you for your response. This is what I expected to hear - that my ex isn’t automatically exempt from the alimony obligation but he might be able to obtain a modification because of my new living arrangements.

Several years ago, I was a legal secretary but never in family law.

I have another question(s) to chime your way soon about child support. We filed a Consent Order that was signed in court that included all arrangements. We also filed a Parenting Agreement. We never went to court.

My ex has never had our children the 1/3 overnights the entire time we’ve been separated and divorced since 12/00. Yet, he has always been on Worksheet B and I never went and had any adjustments made to the child support in all those years.

Well, I have to make this short, but I think you might know where I’m coming from asking if I can offshoot his possible request to cancel alimony because he never paid me the proper child support for many years.

My nasty Ex is the one who cheated and abandoned the family, not I. I think that should account for where primary custody and the marital assets go (to the abandoned and faithful spouse), but apparently with no fault divorce laws, the cheating and abandoning spouse gets away with murder so to speak.

I’ll be back in touch soon with more details on my questions.

I wish you the best!

Yes, it is not right that the cheating spouse, the abandoning spouse gets away with “murder”, but that is just the way it is! It’s also sad to me that you have to move in with your family because the alimony isn’t enough! It happens way too often! The response of “good luck” says it all!

I do so hope you can continue to receive what alimony you are entitled to and that he has to pay any back child support! There are so many women out there struggling to make ends meet and raising children by themselves. No one seems to really give a darn. Once divorced, through “no fault”, it’s no one fault that you have to struggle and do whatever you can to survive. Jeez! I, too, wish you good luck, but in a much different way! You need to get what you deserve and then some! But then again, all of us women do!


Thank you too for your response.

You don’t mention your situation but I suspect you were also left by a cheating and abandoning father that cared more for his Ho than he did his own children.

I have more to say on this subject but have to keep this brief and get back to the lawyers and legal questions right now. I hope sometime in the future to expand on the no-fault divorce issue and everything that is wrong with it. One, it is against the constitutional rights (including contract rights) of Americans and models Soviet Commie laws that were instituted in the early 1900’s when the commie party overtook Russian society. Their society suffered as a result of easier and forced divorce laws and other changes.

Dear Erin,

Thanks again for your response, but I have more questions surrounding the alimony issue and you are quicker than Legal Aide in responding and they just don’t give much help to the victims of no-fault divorce. Yet, if I was an illegal alien accusing my man of domestic violence, well…

Again, the ex and I went through mediation and never saw the inside of a court room. The only reason we went through child custody mediation was because we had to because I filed a motion for contempt when the ex was in arrears on money. Otherwise we agreed on custody of our two children and he agreed to Worksheet B child support where he was to have our then two minor children 1/3 of the overnights.

Problem is he never had our two kids 1/3 of the overnights since we separated in 12-2000. He never even came close and his overnights diminished over the years to 1/4 or less of the time and especially after he moved with his Ho to a town 2 1/2 hours away but in the same state. I would say that he has shown more compassion to the Ho’s kids and spent more money on them than his own two kids.

Anyway, I was a stay-at-home-mom (A very honorable profession in my opinion) for four years before the separation and have been since. I’ve used up my IRA account raising them. After some disabilities starting in 2006, I have tried to find work for the past several months and have had no luck.

In the consent order that was signed in 2002, it was listed that I could earn at least a minimum of $20,000 per year and that was added against child support. My ex was making at least $100,000 at the time of separation. Again, I’ve never gone back and changed the child support even though the nasty ex should have been on Worksheet A all along and may have made more money in later years.

I also had some disability health problems around the time my ex was carrying on an affair and he left (his choice I didn’t kick him out of the house even after confirming that there was another woman) almost one year to the date when our youngest child was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of three.

Dealing with the diabetes along with being a single parent has been a thorn in my side and especially when trying to seek employment and also a brief seasonal job at Hel-Mart last holiday season.

My question: If the nasty ex tries to get out of paying me alimony that he still owes me for 2 3/4 years, can I now go back and try to get back all the extra child support he owes me? Can I also use this to get out of paying him any child support since my only minor child now will be going to live with him? I mean, he earns or is capable of earning at least $100,000 annual whereas I could only earn a maximum of $30,000 and probably much less because of the economy.

You can absolutely modify child support and I think you should. It has been 7 years since the calculation, and no doubt your circumstances have changed, the visitation and your inability to earn what the court projected are both sound reasons to have child support recalculated