Spouse in college

I have been married for 15+years and I am the primary breadwinner of the family for the past 5 years. My spouse pays for the mortgage and I take care of the rest of the expenses for the home and 2 kids. Spouse is in college now and once he is done with the program, he would be qualified enough to earn more than twice of my salary. I am considering separation now and I wish him to play an active role as a dad in my children’s life.
Will I be expected to pay child support and alimony to him if I want 50-50 or 60-40 child custody and also because he is earning lesser than me now? He was earning quite a lot before he started studying full time. Right now, if i am expected to pay for child custody with the above said custody agreement, I might be unable to provide the same lifestyle for my kids and afford for an attorney.
Please help.

It is likely that you would have to pay child support and alimony based on the information you have provided.

Child support is calculated using the parents’ current incomes and circumstances unless one parent is unemployed or underemployed in bad faith and if so, then the Court can impute income to that parent.

Alimony is based on current incomes but also the standard of living that the spouses grew accustomed to during the marriage. Since you have been the primary breadwinner for the last 5 years, it is possible that the Court could find that you are the supporting spouse and your spouse is the dependent spouse, thus entitling your spouse to receive alimony from you.

There is no formula for alimony in North Caroline like there are worksheets for child support. Below are the 16 factors that judges consider when making awards of alimony:

  1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses.
  2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses.
  3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses.
  4. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security.
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
  7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
  8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
  9. The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs.
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt of the spouses, including legal obligations of support.
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse.
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
  13. The relative needs of the spouses.
  14. The federal, State, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
  15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper.
  16. The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties” marital or divisible property.

Anna Ayscue

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

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