Can ex-husband sue for spousal support after being divorced 8 years


My ex-husband, who currently lives in South Carolina, and I have been divorced (absolute) over nine years. I have primary custody of our 2 sons, 12 and 14 years of age. Over the years he has worked intermittently and as a result has made intermittent child support payments after I have had to take him to court. He has been a somewhat disruptive influence in our family since over the years he has sought to undermine my authority with the kids which has, over the years, cause some strain between my current husband and the boys. He recently informed me that he will be losing his job in SC come June 2019 and plans to move back to NC to be close to the boys. It is my belief that his plan is the take me to court for custody of the kids and then have me pay him child support so that he will not have to work. I believe his plan is to attempt to convince the courts that he is better able to take care of the boys since I work and my current husband also travels for his job. He has, in the past, threatened to go to family court to have the boys choose who they want to stay with and then have me pay support if they chose him.
My question is, is this a real possibility and if so would it be worth my time and resources to preemptively seek legal council?


Your ex-husband cannot sue you for postseparation support or alimony after an absolute divorce is entered.

He could file a lawsuit for custody and child support (or file a motion to modify if there is already a court order in place). However, based on the information you have provided, his chances don’t look good.

The Court will not hold it against you that you work full-time in its determination of a custody schedule. And it sounds like you will also have testimony/evidence about his past actions in regards to the children and creating problems. Plus, you have had primary custody of your children for what sounds like the last 9 years or more. Unless there are serious concerns about your ability to care for the children, a judge is not likely to completely change the schedule that your children are used to and have been used to for so long. If the father is living closer, he could be entitled to receive more custodial time up to 50/50 (but this depends on his past actions and ability as a parent) but based on the information you’ve provided, I don’t see a judge flipping the current custody schedule so that your ex-husband and primary custody.

Children in NC do not get to choose where the live until they turn 18 and then are considered adults. A judge also does not have to consider a minor child’s wishes in making a custody determination - a judge is only required to make a determination that is in the best interests of the minor children.

I don’t think you need to see an attorney right away, but it would be a good idea to do your research on possible attorneys so if and when you receive any formal court notice from your ex-husband, you will be prepared and ready to meet with and retain counsel.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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