Post Separation Support / Alimony


#1

Dear Blindsided:

First things first, do you want your child to come back to North Carolina? How long has the child been gone? Are you paying child support? Who is she living with? How is she paying her bills now?

It is not true that dependent spouses don’t have to work in North Carolina. Sometimes, there is enough money to go around, even supporting two (2) separate households, but often this is not the case. When there is not enough money, there will still often be post separation support or alimony, but at a reduced amount so that both parties must work.

Visitation does not depend on paying anything. Child support is not linked to visitation. Visit often and request as much visitation as you can.

Finally (all that I can see to answer right now) you cannot afford to NOT retain an attorney in your situation. She needs to pay for half the debt if it is marital. That may mean that you have to foot the bill now and she pays you back later. That may mean that you take on the debt instead of paying alimony. Best of luck!

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#2

Janet,

Thanks so much for the answers that you have provided.

As far as your questions to me:

Yes, I absolutely want my child back here in NC. I miss her so much every day that it hurts. She is so beautiful and loving.

My wife is currently living with her parents in Tennessee. She has been gone about 45 days. I have seen my child only twice in that time period. The first time, it was 23 days after my wife left me and it was only for the afternoon. I was refused an unsupervised visit with her, much less an entire weekend. My first attempt at a visitation, only a week or two after she left, was fraught with restricions. I would have had to make a 10 hour drive, only to have my daughter for a few hours, only on certain day and I was no longer welcome at her parents house. I declined only because of the restrictions and to not cause further stress on the relationship.

I finally worked out the first visitation mentioned above, but I still had to drive half way and she met me half way.

The second visitation was last weekend, when my wife flew back to NC, where I made the trip up to RDU from Charlotte to pick them up. I did get some unsupervised time with my child.

I have told her that I want at least what is considered normal visitation, but things have not been working out that way. I am not ready to throw the marriage away, as she seems to be, so I am hesitant to press her and make the situation worse. She and her family feel that she has been accomodating on visitation, but you can see from above that this is not true.

I do not pay child support yet, in a formal way. She still has access to our checking account and we work out how much cash she needs on an adhoc basis until we have a formal agreement. I am paying all of the normal bills, including her student loans.

My question or comment about post seperation support and alimony in this situation was not related to visitation, per se, and definitely not child support. My question was more - given the situation of her leaving me and taking the child out of state against my will, would that weigh against her ability to get an award of alimony?

I think we are going to try to work a lot of this out before going to the lawyers to make everything official, but I will have a lawyer review anything I sign. Again, I am trying to keep things level so they don’t get out of hand and escalate. But at some point, I have to realize that I may be being taken advantage of. Thanks for the advice on that front.

Thanks again. I can’t beleive the time you must put in to answer everyone’s questions. You are a saint.


#3

Dear Blindsided:

Thank you for the vote for sainthood - I could use a free trip to heaven. Anyway, my suggestion is that you talk to an attorney first to ensure that you understand ALL of your rights. You don’t want to agree to something that is not in your best benefit, and then go to an attorney to learn this. If I were you, I would file for child custody here in North Carolina immediately to ensure that her moving the child to Tennessee does not change the jurisdiction to Tennessee. Make her come to you to litigate the child custody issue. Don’t let her dictate how and when you will see the minor child. Instead, if you file here, and come to an agreement, you can still enter a consent order here. If you file for custody here, it is more likely that you will reach a good settlement sooner, since she does not want to go to court either.

Also, start paying guideline child support (use our calculator) once a month. Best of luck!

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#4

I guess that I left out that she already filed for separation, child custody, child support, division of assets (more that 50%) and post separation support/alimony here in Mecklenburg County, NC. I got served last weekend - ironically, when I had my daughter with me her alone at home.

I have to respond to the complaint, but I am going to ask for more time. What is appropriate to ask for? I was thinking 60-90 days to answer the complaint.

My wife didn’t realize that we had to basically split everything up and work it all out almost right away.

If I gave the attorney all of the paperwork that he asked for, he would blow through her retainer in no time just going through our financial life before we ever got down to negotiating anything. If I end up paying her lawyers fees, I don’t want either of us to use her lawyer for anything but what is absolutely necessary.

She is still very conflicted and can’t talk about things that we need to right now. Doesn’t make things easy on me, but I hope she is still wondering if she made the right decision.

About you saying to pay her child support now - I have provided about $1800 to her so far via her using the check card and cash. It has been less than 2 months.

If we were to a point where we are getting separate residences - is the child support intended to also offset housing costs? I am trying to determine what is fair as far as what I set up for her until all is final. Would I be expected to pay her housing costs, bills and the full child support amount?

Thanks again.


#5

Dear BlindSided:

I know that you hate to hear it, but I believe you need an attorney. The rules of civil procedure and the law can be tricky, even for an attorney. We go to school for at three years (in addition to a 4 year degree) in order to learn all the rules. For example, you can only ask for a 30 day extension of time to answer the complaint and you need to get the extension in an order.

Also, you have to make a full disclosure of information to her attorney if there is litigation pending. You will not be able to control how much her attorney charges her. Every time she calls her attorney, she will be billed, and you cannot control this. Getting an attorney may be a wise decision, since we often settle outside of court and our clients do not have to pay the other’s attorney fees. Best of Luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
NCDivorce.com
919-787-6668

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


#6

My wife up and left me and took our only child out of state without warning. She is claiming that was the only way she knew how to deal with the situation.

She is also pregnant with my second child. My question (one of so many) is about support/alimony. I have absolutely no problem with child support. But PSS and alimony don’t seem right in this situation. She was a stay at home mom, but only after we both agreed to do that. She had a job up until she had the baby, so she has been unemployed for about 2 years now.

Her claims for divorce are not real strong, but I don’t think that matters. There is not physical abuse of any party. I feel that she should have given us the chance of counseling, but she refuses to do so.

I make good money, but we are heavily in debt. Seperate residences, while keeping our house will be tough to impossible without going deeper in debt.

I have been told that a dependent spouse with children under the age of four are “not expected” to work in NC due to the demands of small children. Is this true? My wife has a degree and has work towards a masters degree. She should be very employable, but she has never made much more than $25K or so before we had the child.

Am I expected to pay her alimony? For how long? We were married five years. If we can’t afford seperate residences in NC, does she have any expectation to be able to take my child out of state to her family, where she can live free? If so, what are my visitation rights? Would I still have to pay alimony?

I was also told that even though our debt would probably be split up, she would be unable to pay and I would end up paying her portion if I didn’t want my credit ruined.

Any help would be appreciated. I have so many questions and am so lost emotionly. I do speak with a lawyer every now and then, but I can hardly afford to keep doing that until I know the situation better.

Thanks to those who run this site. It is a bright light in a dark world…