Postseparation support is essentially temporary spousal support that is paid while a couple is separated.  Postseparation support is generally granted if the following elements are proven to the court:

  • The party requesting support is a dependent spouse;
  • The party that would pay support is a supporting spouse;
  • The dependent spouse has need for continued support during the separation; and
  • The supporting spouse has the ability to pay support.

Postseparation support will be paid until the earliest of any of the following times:

  • The date specified in the postseparation support order;
  • The award or denial of alimony;
  • The dismissal of an alimony claim; or
  • The couple’s absolute divorce (if no alimony claim is pending at the time of the entry of the judgment of divorce).

According to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-16.2A(b), the factors considered with post separation support are:

  • The parties’ accustomed standard of living;
  • The present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any source;
  • The income-earning abilities of the parties;
  • The separate and marital debt service obligations of each party;
  • The expenses reasonably necessary to support each of the parties; and
  • Each party’s respective legal obligations to support other persons.

Postseparation support be ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, for annulment, or for alimony without divorce.  If postseparation support is ordered at the time of an absolute divorce, a claim for alimony must be pending at that time or the claim is waived.  The purpose of this type of support is “to function as a means of securing temporary support for a dependent spouse in an expedited manner.” [Wells v. Wells, 132 N.C. App. 401, 410, 512 S.E.2d 468, 474(quoting Sally B. Sharp, Step By Step: The Development of the Distributive Consequences of Divorce in North Carolina, 76 N.C. L. Rev. 2017, 2090 (Sept. 1998)), review denied, 350 N.C. 599, 537 S.E.2d 495 (1999).]

If you are facing divorce or separation and are interested in learning more about spousal support, contact Miller Law Group for a consultation with our skilled family law attorney.