Spousal support

What Exactly Qualifies As Spousal Support In NC?

North Carolina


Either spouse can receive alimony if they meet one of two criteria:

The spouse can’t meet their own reasonable financial needs without the other spouse’s income or assets. The spouse can’t maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage without the other spouse’s income or assets

Post Separation Support & Alimony

What is post-separation support?

Postseparation Support is basically temporary Alimony. It is spousal support that is paid until a specified date determined by the Court or the agreement of the parties. Post-Separation Support is simply an award which is made relatively early in the litigation process in order to make sure that if there is a dependent spouse, that spouse has his or her needs met well before his or her Alimony claim is heard by the Court. A party must be a “dependent spouse” before post separation support can be ordered.

Postseparation Support – Postseparation Support laws were enacted in North Carolina effective October 1, 1995 and applicable to actions filed on or after that date.

North Carolina no longer has temporary alimony but has changed the terminology to postseparation support or “PSS.” The purpose of PSS is to prevent the more financially secure party from starving out the less financially secure party and forcing that party into an unfair property settlement agreement. If one party is found to be financially dependent on the other spouse that party is designated a “dependent spouse” and is entitled to an award of temporary support from the “supporting spouse.” This award may also include an order requiring the supporting spouse to pay a portion of the dependent spouse’s attorney fees. PSS is determined on the economic circumstances of the parties; however, in certain cases, adultery or other marital misconduct may be considered in determining the award or denial of PSS.

The court may award Post Separation Support based upon the following:

  • Financial needs of the parties;
  • Accustomed standard of living;
  • Present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any source;
  • Earning abilities of both spouses;
  • Separate and marital debt service obligations;
  • Necessary living expenses of both parties;
  • Each party’s respective legal obligations to support any other person; and Pre-separation marital misconduct of both parties.



While postseparation support is temporary in nature and is designed to put the parties on equal footing, alimony is designed to be more long term or permanent in nature. Like PSS, the court, after considering all relevant factors, will determine the duration and amount of alimony.

Before a court will award one party or the other alimony, you must:

    1. Be the dependent spouse, which means you are actually and substantially dependent upon the other spouse for support or substantially in need of support from the other spouse; and
    2. It must be equitable or fair to award the dependent spouse alimony. Equitable is determined according to the following relevant factors:

• Financial needs of the parties;
• Accustomed standard of living;
• Present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any source;
• Earning abilities of both spouses;
• Separate and marital debt service obligations
• Living expenses of both parties necessary for support of both; and
• Each party’s respective legal obligations to support any other person

Illicit sexual behavior in entitlement of Alimony

(a) If you are the dependent spouse and you engaged in uncondoned illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to the date of separation, you will not receive alimony unless the supporting spouse also participated in an act of uncondoned illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to the date of separation.

(b) If you are the supporting spouse, your spouse shall be entitled to alimony if you engaged in an uncondoned illicit sexual act during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation (and the dependent spouse is not guilty of the same conduct).

If both spouses have engaged in an uncondoned illicit sexual act, then alimony may be denied or awarded in the discretion of the court after consideration of all the other circumstances.

The trial Judge decides the amount, duration and manner of payment of permanent alimony.

The relevant factors the court must consider in determining the manner, amount and duration of payment of permanent alimony are:

  1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses, which may be determined by a jury (see marital misconduct under Postseparation Support; the factors are the same);
  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 source of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security or others;
  5. The duration of the marriage;
  6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  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 service requirements 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 and State tax ramifications of the alimony award; and
  15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper.

Alimony or Post separation Support can be modified or terminated by the court upon a showing of material and substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the order.

Alimony or Postseparation Support terminates upon the death of either party, upon the remarriage of recipient spouse, or upon cohabitation of the recipient spouse.

Cohabitation occurs when two adults’ dwell together continuously and habitually in a private heterosexual or homosexual relationship. When dealing with the issue of cohabitation, the old adage – if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and acts like a duck, then it is probably a duck – applies. So, if you and your new partner look like you are married, and act like you are married, you probably are cohabiting in the eyes of the Court.








CHILD SUPPORT calculator

Use the Interactive North Carolina Child Support Calculator

Determine your obligation


Equitable Distribution Affidavit

Filling out the Equitable Distribution Affidavit is a very important part of your case. Making a mistake can really cause problems.



Child & Dependent Care Expenses FORM

If you paid someone to care for your child or other qualifying person so you (and your spouse if filing jointly) could work or look for work, you may be able to take the credit for child and dependent care expenses.




Choosing the right law firm can be a challenge that ultimately decides your case before entering a courtroom. Although the direction of your case is motivated by the law, prevailing requires a competent delivery with a creative spin. It was exciting to witness three distinct personalities dancing around the courtroom with confidence while defending my case as if their own. Greg and Michael ..... represent the bulldogs you may be looking for, especially when determined to win. Thankfully, I prevailed with a cherry on top!
Dom Setabas
Richard is an excellent Lawyer. He assisted me in getting a restraining order against my ex-husband, and when we went to mediation, my ex tried to get spousal support from me. We came out of mediation with no spousal support given, and terms that I was extremely satisfied with.
Working with David was an amazing experience for me. Anytime the law is involved, people often get nervous and weary of what is really going on. David was able to not only help me understand the specifics, but he was able to make an overall uncomfortable experience very comfortable and easy. He worked with a very tight timeline and was able to successful complete all desired actions. David called and emailed me multiple times a day in order to ensure I was comfortable with all actions and outcomes. David went as far as even communicating during his personal time to further ensure my comfortability. But most important he made representing me his main priority. He looked out for my best interest but more importantly made sure I was happy throughout the process. He was AMAZING!!! Thank you so much!
I found Mr. Krusch online via Google search. He was upfront & professional with me. I received a quick response when I requested information from his law firm. I was left with no questions, he answered them all up front and assured me that he would help in any additional way possible. Thank you!
I was very fortunate to have the privilege of David representing me on my child custody case. He went above and beyond to do whatever he could to help me. He is very understanding and makes sure your comfortable and know what's going on. He's nice kind and caring. He is everything I hoped for in an attorney. Before we went to court we sat down and discussed all the possibilities of all the different outcomes. We were very prepared for court!!!! He worked his butt off and made me feel like I was his number one client. I will forever be grateful for what he has done for my family and I. He will be my attorney in the future.
Michael Romano exceeded all of my expectations. He was easy to speak to, patient, generous with his dedication and expedient. Most importantly, he is beyond knowledgeable on all things family law. Mr. Romano brought me great comfort through his services in an overwhelming situation. His genuine care and personalism were so greatly appreciated and I couldn’t have been more satisfied with my choice in him.
Ashlely Lewis
I've used Mr. Plumides for many cases over the years from custody to criminal and I want you to know he's a very special type of attorney. He's the type that literally has fallen in love with his work, the type to call you on a Sunday morning to discuss your case when you're worried and the type to protect you like your his own blood. I'll never use anyone else in the area and I strongly advise you at the very least to sit down with him if you're on the fence with representation and you'll see exactly what I'm referring to.
Michael Neighbors
Used this lawyer for 7yrs and was always happy...We had to go to court 3 times and each time we WON...he was never nervous going in. He knew what he was doing and informed me on everything...Thank you Mr. Johnson
Michael Romano did nothing less than saved my son and I from an abusive husband/father. Without his guidance I don't feel my situation would have had a positive outcome. Michael is very easy to talk to, is very knowledgeable about family law and helped me more than I could ever explain. Michael communicated effectively with me about my situation and made me feel like I had someone in my corner fighting for my son and I. Thank you Michael! I will never forget how you helped me.
Amy Craig
Richard took my case at the last minute, easy to reach throughout the process and happy to help wait my EX out until a deal was able to be reached.
Alan is a sophisticated professional. Wow, did I say wow?!!!! He will tell you up front EXACTLY what will happen with your case. Also known as the truth, which (by the way you probably already know.) My advise is to just let him do his job -that he is more than capable of doing. Don't ask too many questions or get yourself worked up. Alan will tell you in advance almost the exact outcome of your case to a t. In the end you can feel good about him as a human being because he won't resort to less than favorable behaviour. And by that I mean other attorneys who have to use immature tactics to make up for what they lack as men. Although it is quite entertaining to watch some of them!!! Especially JIM WARREN!!! Hahahahaha!!!!! Submitted by JULIE MEDLIN, who JUST WON HER CASE!!!!!!!!!Thank you ALAN KRUSCH!
Mr. Krusch helped and prepared me for a difficult case. He worked extremely hard with his staff and they were very professional at all times. From the moment l walked in, till the end of the case. I am very comfortable referring friends and family to him because of his expertise, he’s a true gem!
Greg Plumides was a true advocate for me when I was falsely accused. If you need a knowledgeable, accessible, and hard working attorney on your side, look no further. Did I mention the very reasonable cost? Thank you, Mr. Plumides. (Full review to come on Avvo) Richard Johnson made my separation and divorce as painless as possible. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
Matt Namin
I found Mr. Johnson through searching the NC bar association website around 2006. I was living up in New York when my ex-wife took me to court. Mr. Johnson returned my call and was very patient with me and very thorough in advising me in what I had to do with my court case. I was very confident with him representing me during my child support and legal separation cases. He represented me when my ex-wife went back to court for an increase of support while I was at work up in NY. Mr. Johnson presented my case in front of the judge showing unjustified cause for an increase in support, and won. I highly recommend him.
Thomas M.
What can I say about Family Law Associates, and Michael Romano? The bottom line is that he and his staff fought for me with great effort and resolve, seeking not only victory for me, but for true justice, with a kindness and respect for all involved. Their skill in the practice of family law is unsurpassed. When Mr. Romano gives you advice, do yourself a favor and take it, even if you don't fully understand why. I did, I put my trust in him and listened. Michael and Family Law Associates gave me back the most important thing in my life, my son. For this, there is no way to truly express how I feel. Now, it’s time for me to close this letter, it’s time to get my son in his bath, and ready him for bed. A snack, a chapter out of a book and then tucking him in. These are the things I am thankful for. These are the things Michael won for me and my son. Do yourself a favor, hire a knight to fight for you.
I want to share my relationship with Family Law and Associates & (Michael Romano). I had a situation develop after a 16 year relationship came to an end. The group at Family Law Associates guided me and my family through some very unsettling topics and decisions. This group helped make a very uncomfortable situation as painless as it could be with total consideration to the two parties involved, and the spilt custody decision of a 6 year old little girl. They helped guide the focus towards the opposite from the normal “she wants, he wants” scenario that you hear about on a day to day basis. They focused more on the law aspect and this helped control a lot of emotion driven situations to help both parties remain clear and focused on the main person that this would affect the most, their child. Family Law Associates have always been there even after this event took place. To help guide, or answer the questions that, well simply put, are the ones that you need to ask to put the mind at ease. This group will continue to be a part of my life no matter what situation arises that involves Family Law. I will always turn to this group; as well as recommend them to anyone I come across in my professional life, as well as my personal life.
I love this Charlotte Attorney's team approach! Having all the attorneys- Family Law specialists, and Criminal- DWI/DUI attorneys in the practice, brainstorming and working to my benefit is a definite advantage over other Charlotte attorneys
Shirley Cress Dudley
David Krusch and his staff are amazing. Everyone was very nice and very informative. He represented me in my divorce and I must say, he handled everything and made it very easy for me. I had some questions a long the way and his staff responded back to me immediately with answers. I will absolutely refer friends and family to David Krusch for legal matters in the future!
Mr. Plumides is an A+ lawyer for an affordable price. My child's mother not being happy with our current custody agreement in Ohio filed false charges of child abuse against me to have the jurisdiction and custody order changed. Child protective services got involved and i was charged criminally for child abuse and she tried to file two protective orders against me. My life was spiraling out of control and i didn't know what to do. I found Mr. Plumides and went for the consultation and knew right then based off of his ability to handle all of my cases (which eliminated me having to hire multiple lawyers), knowledge and experience he was the one i wanted to represent me. He was honest, reassuring, and fought very hard for my best interest. And it all paid off he had both protection orders dismissed. Negotiated on my behalf with child protective services and worked out a plan that i agreed with. And the criminal charge went to trial and was also dismissed. Mr. Plumides has helped me get control of my life back and I couldn't be more pleased with his services. I would most definitely recommend Mr. Plumides to anyone looking for a great lawyer at a reasonable price.
Michael Young
An excellent team of professionals you want on your side. Hard working, knowledgeable and accountable.
Pravin Thakur
Mr. Romano is an amazing family law attorney. He has been my attorney for over 5 years and I have never been disappointed. His experience and expertise in Family law, in my opinion, supersedes all others in the field. Mr. Romano and his team are very knowledgeable, thorough, professional, and personable. I highly recommend Mr. Romano and his team without reservations. If you're in need of a Family law attorney, Mr. Romano is your guy!
Ivette Cintron
Mr. Plumides is very knowledgeable about the legal process he helped my family when we were going through a very difficult time in our life. I would recommend him to anyone.
Yvonne Young
Michael Romano has always been respectful and has helped me through a difficult divorce. My divorce ended up being very complicated and drawn out due to my ex-husband not living in the same state and I am currently still using Michael to help me. He has provided me with great advice and guidance through the divorce. Michael is very caring of his clients and makes you feel important. I would definitely recommend Michael Romano to a person who is going through a divorce.
I was very fortunate to have David represent me in my recent divorce. There was property, assets and a business that needed to be litigated and distributed fairly with the least amount of loss. David was very knowledgeable with the laws surrounding each particular area and saved me thousands of dollars in the end, David is a talented family law attorney with a knowledge base that is not limited to divorce or child custody issues but expands to include expertise in a variety of areas of legal matters. I would highly recommend and use him again for future legal issues.
Professionalism, experience, communication, & facts is what Mr. Romano delivered for me in 2 separate cases. I was communicated with every step of the way with facts & experience he has helped immensely during my two cases. I potentially had my financial future in jeopardy & both cases it went in my favor.
I hired Mr Romano after meeting with several options. From the initial consultation to the completion of my case, his service and the results exceeded my expectations. Throughout my experience, he made himself widely available for Q&A, kept me well informed, showed genuine interest, and appeared to always be one step ahead. While having to hire an Attorney is rarely a good thing, Mr Romano made it a pleasant and low stress experience. Highly recommend!
Mr. Krusch was a true advocate for our cause. He was knowledgeable of all aspects of the law in our case and handled the final negotiations flawlessly. He spent time with us answering our questions and helping us understand the law. He presented all of the options available and helped us choose the best options for us. David was also compassionate. He genuinely cared about us and worked hard to support us. We won't hesitate to call him again.
When I needed results & everything was potential on the line, my future was secured. Communication, experience, & facts is what was delivered to me during my cases.
Michael Burst
David is an amazing attorney. I was going through a very difficult time after separating from my significant other. We had major differences of opinion on custody, and equitable distribution. I was a mess. I came to David and he listened attentively, and reassured me. He really went to bat for me in court and I always felt supported. David also gave me a very fair rate, he definitely earned it. I would recommend David to anyone who values a trustworthy advocate, and an earnest man.
Gregory Plumides was very professional, knowledgeable and efficient! Very experienced Attorney! He helped me to settle all my Divorce matters. I highly recommend his services.
From the moment I met with Mr. Plumides, I knew I found a good attorney - one who was HONEST and truly cared about me and my situation. I was going through a divorce and I had used two other attorneys over the period of a year and half who were dishonest, and only interested in padding their own wallets. Mr. Plumides told me like it was, the TRUTH....He was always professional and his paralegal, Kristin, was excellent as well, and kept on top of everything. They both worked together as a team! His fees were reasonable and I didn't feel like he was "padding" every bill - just the exact opposite! He was extremely fair and truly has a heart of gold. At the end of a divorce or any other situation, most people dislike their attorney - I can honestly say that I think Mr. Plumides is a wonderful person and I was truly lucky to have met him!!!!!!!
Attorney Krusch is attentive, compassionate, and understanding. I highly recommend him. His is resourceful, creative, and tenacious when he needs to be.
I have used Michael Romano as an attorney on two occasions and was very pleased with the results both times. I was impressed by his sensitivity with all the issues involved and his understanding of my concerns. He was very thorough in obtaining all the facts and presenting them well in court. He was always available to answer my questions and address all the issues that arose. I would highly recommend Mr. Romano. He is an excellent attorney.
This is the best law firm I have worked with during my rough time (divorce). I had setup an appointment for consultation and I was amazed how honest and upfront he was on my case. I like to work with people (lawyer in this case) who tell me upfront what I am up against. So I hired him as my lawyer and my case turned out to be exactly what he had told me in the beginning. One thing I will tell is your case will turnout the way he tells you in your consultation as long as you are honest with him.
Trust. Respect. Strategist. Thoroughness. Problem Solver. A good listener. These are the words that describe my experience working with you as my attorney. From the first phone call back in the summer of 2009 when I introduced my case to you, you listened to everything I had to share and then explained the process thoroughly to me. Once we started working together I felt that I was fully represented. What is most important to me is that you listened to me as your client. You did not take a cookie cutter approach to my case. To prevail in my case you took an effective strategic approach and thought outside the box to come up with a solution that brought about the best possible outcome. This is why I will continue to refer acquaintances and friends to you (Michael Romano) so that they can receive the highest legal representation that Charlotte has to offer.
Toni is the BEST !
Lanautica Dubose
Mr. Plumides took my case and made me see it different which has made me different. In court and out he is caring, professional, and treated me with the utmost respect. I was facing more than I thought I could handle and somehow, he reduced that by his knowledge and wisdom and not giving up by keeping in touch with me and visiting me. He is honest and caring and always ON TIME!!! Thank you again Mr. Plumides. I would recommend you to anyone searching for someone to take their case.
After some fairly extensive due diligence, I selected Krusch & Sellers, P.A. to represent me during my divorce. I selected the firm based upon their experience, track record, and exclusive focus in the area of Family Law. David Krusch was fresh out of law school and to be perfectly honest, I chose him to represent me because money was tight and at the time his fee was below market. No doubt that below market rate is rising rapidly - as it should in my opinion. He did an excellent job representing me throughout. He is capable and effective beyond his years. I highly recommend Krusch & Sellers, P.A. in general and David Krusch in particular.
Absolutely amazing Law Firm. I had the pleasure of having Toni Primiano represent me for a custody battle. Hands down the best experience I could have asked for. She was a bulldog in the courtroom and was able to help keep me level headed during our 3.5 year battle! I will continue to use Plumides, Romano, and Johnson for all of my attorney needs!
Cody Eastin
David was extremely helpful. He handled things fast and honestly cared about my situation. I am grateful and would recommend David to any friend!
Some things to consider when hiring a Family Law attorney. REF: Michael Romano ........ 1: The caliber of an attorney to include knowledge and experience and 2: Who the opposing counsel is. ... You need an attorney who doesn't shy away from a tough family court case. You need an attorney who knows how to counter an unethical attorney's entire argument. You need an attorney who is competent and relentless in the attempts to properly stand for you. You need Attorney Michael Romano .... You have to decide what you value in this life. You have to decide what you are willing to spend when it comes to your kids. If you treat this process (seeking custody of your kid(s), modifications, etc.) as an investment, your return on investment will be the precious time with your kids. You will spend money in family court, but is it worth it to you? For me, my kids come before everything so that question was easy for me to answer.
Armando Rojas
In 2007, after having primary physical custody of my daughter since her father left me five years earlier, my ex-husband remarried and decided that he would rather take my daughter from me than pay an increase in child support so he sued me for full physical custody of my daughter and I needed a good attorney. I have worked for law firms for the past twenty years and Michael Romano came highly recommended to me by a firm that I worked for three years prior. My initial consultation with Michael was in November of 2007, and I was impressed from the very start. I had no doubt that he was highly capable and retained him immediately. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to his paralegal, Stacey Elegado, and was just as impressed with her. Since then, Michael and Stacey have been with me every step of the way. Every e-mail and every phone call was returned and there were no questions left unanswered. Michael and Stacey have always been there for me no matter how small or large my concern was at the time. They made it their priority to set my mind at ease and were always able to do so. What I have learned, after watching them protect the interests of my daughter and me and what has impressed me almost as much, (if not more) than their knowledge and skill, is the fact that they truly care for their clients. That is something that you need when you are going through one of the hardest times in your life, not only knowledgeable people, but good caring people. That is what you will find in Michael and Stacey. It has not been merely a business relationship; it has been far more than that. They have become like family and are there whenever we need them and have never let us down. I have trusted them to protect us and they have done that over and over. I would recommend them to anyone seeking a good, reputable, trustworthy firm for any type of domestic dispute. The corporate attorneys that I now work for in a large firm have been so impressed with the job that they have done for me that they asked me to put Michael and Stacey in our firm's database so they can refer Michael and Stacey when their corporate clients ask for referrals for a good domestic attorney.
I have known Michael Romano for approximately 8 years, since I contracted him to represent me as my attorney in a Child Custody battle that I was going through with my son’s father. Before I met Mr. Romano, I had been dealing with my son’s father for about 6 years and had gone thru 2 prior attorneys and kept finding myself in and out of court non-stop. I had already spent thousands and thousands of dollars and it just seemed like I kept going in a continuous circle and I could never find the ending to the nerve wrecking moments and headaches I was dealing with. I wanted an assertive and aggressive attorney, but yet professional. One that didn’t beat around the bush! I wanted someone that spoke to me in layman’s terms and someone that was compassionate about the problems I was dealing with. I wanted an attorney that I didn’t feel like I was being ripped off with my money, and at the same time I could see the work of his representation being paid off. Michael was recommended to me by a family friend. I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions that I made the day that I contracted his services so that he and his firm can represent me. They always say it takes a first look to make a first impression. Michael demonstrated to be what you would call a “Great Attorney.” He was professional, straight forward, reasonably priced, honest, yet firm in a positive manner. He demonstrated to be well educated on how the North Carolina legal system works. Michael immediately started working on my case and in no time he won it. But the best part of this for me was that he also kept my son’s dad off my back this time, but for good. At the end of my case, it didn’t only save me from any additional headaches, sleepless nights and stressful moments, but it saved me a lot of money and time. I was set free and in peace! Since then Michael has also represented me with other domestic issues, since I had remarried. And again, Michael has been able to perform and help me with the legal services for which I contracted him for. I am forever grateful to Mr. Romano and would only hope that there are many more attorneys that practice and perform their legal ethics the way Michael Romano does. When I am asked by someone which attorney that practices Family and Divorce Law I highly recommend, I never think twice about giving the person Michael Romano’s name and telephone number. He is indeed a successful entrepreneur in our community and in the State of North Carolina and I commend him for of all his achievements and the legal representation that he performs himself and through his firm. It is with great pleasure that I highly recommend Michael Romano and Family Law Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Over the past year, you and Stacy have been so wonderful. Since the day I first walked into your office you addressed my concerns, met my needs, worked with me and listened to everything I said. There have been times that I had concerns and worries; however, each of those times you quickly addressed those issues. I have and highly recommended your services to many people, one of whom has been or still is a client and I will continue to recommend your office to whoever is looking for a great attorney. Thank you Mr. Romano and your entire staff for all you have done for me and my family.