Post Separation Suppot

I have a court ordered Post Separation Support of 1/2 my pension after taxes. My ex-wife claims this not alimony and therefore I can not deduct it from my taxes. Is the monthly amount I send her Tax Deductible?

I’ve been married for just over 3 years. After 2 years, my wife elected to quit her job, liquidate her retirement account, and go back to school for a graduate degree - AGAINST my advice. She was earning $68,000 at the time and me, mid-80’s. We had an argument recently, and she began to destroy personal property in our home. I restrained her, thinking it was the right thing to do, and then called 911. I was then arrested for assault on a female and was also served with a restraining order after spending 2 nights in jail. We are now separated, but not formally (no written agreement). I agreed to pay her $5000 cash to get her to move out of my house (I’m the sole owner, besides the bank) even though she had her own apt. in the town where she was going to school. Today, I got a deferred prosecution on the assault charge (1 yr. unsupervised probation, counseling, etc). Her atty told my atty that now she is entitled to 1/2 of all my retirement contributions over the 3 year period, or over $20,000, and insisted that I pay $1,500 immediately, which I did. I realize that divorce law allows for this, but are there mitigating circumstances in my case, based on the history and facts?
Some additional facts:
Her name is not any of my property, and she owns her own rental house, valued less than mine, but we both had our homes before we got married. We both have our own separate mortgages.
We have no prenup. and no children.
She bought a new car during our marriage. I spent almost the same amount on home improvements.
All of our accounts and property are separate.
I was not interested in ending the marriage before this happened (the incident where I restrained her and called 911), and was ready and willing to resume our marital counseling, which we’d already initiated. There was absolutely no prior history of abuse or infidelity. She made it clear that if we did get separated, before all this happened, that she wanted me to support her through school, but when she actually chose to quit her job, she insisted that she could do it without my support, and so I didn’t offer it, other than to eliminate her share of monthly expenses… so I did support her to that extent. She liquidated her retirement account (abt. $30K), got student loans and a teachers assistant job and was planning on getting through school without my financial support.
I suppose the assault charge allows her to abandon the marriage AND get alimony? Had it not been for that, and she left the marriage, she wouldn’t be entitled to anything right? Not that I wouldn’t be willing to offer something, but what is fair and reasonable under these circumstances?
My atty says that her’s is willing to settle out of court, but that I’m still probably looking at $20K to settle the entire matter, or in the neighborhood of 2K/mo for a year. Is this reasonable from a NC Marital law perspective, given all the facts, or do I have grounds to contest? Based on everything we had agreed upon and done, this feels like a raw and very unfair money grab. If I’m not mistaken, the entire thing stems from my decision to physically try to stop her in the middle of a violent and drunken rampage.

Not sure how I never responded to the initial post, but if the spousal support is being paid pursuant to a court order, it is tax-deductible.

As for the follow up question, there are a lot of facts provided that would require an in depth analysis of the finances of the parties to determine what an equitable division of the assets would be. Additionally, I would need to know more about the supporting v. dependent nature of the relationship to accurately assess the claim for alimony.

Since you have an attorney, I would defer to his or her recommendations as he/she is more familiar with all of the facts.