Child support and alimony


I am active duty Marine Corps and have been deployed now for ten months. I am heading home within this month and my wife emailed me last night and told me she wants to separate and a divorce. Honestly I am completely devastated and want to work through our issues and save our marriage. But I do not believe that will be her choice. I have a couple questions
Child support, we adopted her sister which is now 17 and turns 18 in January, her biological mother pays voluntary support to us every month. Am I obligated if we separate to pay child support for her by law?
Alimony, my wife makes very little each month, I paid for her through her college and receiving her B.S. and attempted to put her through nursing school half way through it she dropped it because she did not like it, then paid for her to go through the police academy and she dropped that as well because she did not like it close to the end. Our standard of living is well above what she can afford with what she makes now however I have given her all the tools and support to achieve a great job she has chosen not to. Also since I have been gone she has spent all of our saving and all of my earnings, some on our joint bills but majority on herself. Is it likely that I will end up paying her alimony? And if we sign a SA and she does not state it in there could that be altered by a judge?


You’d be on the hook for child support until she turns 18, or graduates from high school. You’re probably also on the hook for some alimony.


[color=#800000]Look up NC General Statutes § 50-16.3A. Alimony. Know it backwards and forwards.[/color]

  • Although there are no firm laws determining amount and duration of alimony, generally speaking alimony will be determined based upon the spouses respective incomes and will last for about 1/2 the length of the marriage (e.g. 10 year marriage = 5 years of alimony)

  • Extreme wasting of marital assets above and beyond what would’ve been accorded in equitable distribution may be grounds to reduce or eliminate alimony entirely. It is difficult to prove, however.

  • The supported spouse may refuse to receive alimony. If alimony isn’t settled in a separation agreement or a petition for alimony isn’t filed with the courts prior to the date of final divorce, then the supported spouse may not come back after the final divorce and request alimony. Note that the issue of alimony doesn’t necessarily need to be completely determined by that date, just that there is an intent to seek alimony recorded by that date.


Make darn sure you spend a night in the house. That will stop a divorce for a year.

If you move out pay some minimal, but reasonable child support until January. DO NOT agree to pay alimony if she drops the child support demand. THE STATE WILL come back and say the child support is for the child and take that money and legal fees.