Commonality of Modifying Alimony
After a court grants alimony (either temporary or permanent), it may later be modified by the court or terminated completely depending on the circumstance. There must be a substantial change in circumstances in order for court to modify an existing agreement. Courts have wide discretion in how they define situations that constitute a substantial change in circumstances to warrant a change in alimony. It is not common for a court to modify an existing alimony award. North Carolina submits to the partnership theory of marriage, where both partners have an equal obligation to provide financial support to each other during marriage. This theory extends to post-separation spousal support.
Spousal Support: Payor and Recipient
During the process of modifying alimony agreements, an individual is either the payor or the recipient of spousal support. These roles are determined objectively depending on which partner was financially superior in the marriage. The payor is typically the partner who will be giving money to the recipient or dependent partner. The amount of spousal support depends specific factors, such factors include: the duration of the marriage, the role of each spouse, and the age of the partners.
Modification of Spousal Support
Either party has the ability to initiate modification of an award. The party who moves for a modification of alimony has the responsibility of showing a substantial change in circumstances that warrant change in spousal support. Typically, the party will either move for either upward modification or downward modification.
Step 1. Determine which payments you made qualify as alimony.
Payments that are NOT alimony: Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Alimony does not include:
Requirements for a payment to be alimony:
General Rules for alimony payments:
Step 2. Mark down alimony payments made or received on your taxes:
a) How to Deduct Alimony Paid on your Taxes:
b) How to Report Alimony Received on your Taxes:
For more information go to https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch18.html.
If you would like to speak with a family law attorney in regards to alimony, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law has offices in Huntersville and Ballantyne for your convenience.
Take a look at the December 2014 issue of Huntersville Magazine featuring Adkins Law PLLC.
Adkins Law PLLC is located in Huntersville, North Carolina and primarily serves Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.
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In North Carolina, alimony may be awarded to a dependent spouse pursuant to divorce. Once an order for alimony is entered, it may be modified or vacated at any time upon a showing of changed circumstances by either party.
In North Carolina, the termination of alimony may be made if a dependent spouse remarries or engages in cohabitation. NCGS 50-16.9(b) states that “cohabitation means the act of two adults dwelling together continuously and habitually in a private heterosexual relationship, even if this relationship is not solemnized by marriage, or a private homosexual relationship.”
The statute continues to state that “[c]ohabitation is evidenced by the voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties, and obligations which are usually manifested by married people, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations.”
What does this mean? It means that once an order for alimony has been entered in North Carolina, it may either (1) be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, or (2) terminated upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse. Thus, if the dependent spouse begins living with another person, any alimony they receive may be terminated.
If you would like to speak to an alimony lawyer about modifying or terminating alimony in Huntersville NC or the greater Charlotte area, please contact Adkins Law PLLC. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC and primarily serves Huntersville NC, Cornelius NC, Davidson NC, Denver NC, Charlotte NC, Mecklenburg County, Iredell County, Gaston County, Cabarrus County, and the Lake Norman area. Please contact Adkins Law today to speak with an alimony lawyer in Huntersville NC.