Depending on the ruling of the court, an alimony order can be for a set number of years or even life. In order to modify spousal support, whether that be alimony or post-separation support, significant changes are normally necessary. The termination of an alimony order is automatic upon the death of either party, remarriage of the dependent spouse, or cohabitation by the dependent spouse. That being said, what determines cohabitation in North Carolina?
According to North Carolina state law, cohabitation requires:
It is important to take notice that, although the court requires two people to essentially be living together in order to terminate an alimony order, that does not mean that they must be retaining the same residence. The dependent spouse and third party may each retain a separate residence and still be considered living together.
The second criteria the court will look to is whether the dependent and third party act like a married couple. There are numerous facts considered by the North Carolina courts. There is no one item that is required or determinative.
Some factors considered in determining cohabitation:
Although cohabitation is defined by statute, it is often a source of litigation in court. Seeing as the dependent receiving alimony has an incentive to alter behavior to avoid losing their monthly check, these types of cases may get a bit grey at times. This may include keeping a separate residence, limiting the nights spent together per week, not keeping their belongings at the other party’s place, not getting engaged, etc. This behavior can make it quite frustrating for the person ordered to pay. Often, testimony from a private investigator, phone records, and bank records help to establish cohabitation.
1) How long do we have to be separated before we can file for divorce?
You can file for divorce “if and when the husband and wife have lived separate and apart for one year, and the plaintiff or defendant in the suit for divorce has resided in the State for a period of six (6) months.”
2) How long will the whole process take once the complaint is filed?
It depends. When the plaintiff files a complaint for absolute divorce, a defendant is entitled to 30 days to respond. If a defendant fails to respond to the complaint within 30 or 60 days if applicable, the plaintiff is entitled to proceed with their claim for absolute divorce.
3) What if I am in the military and live out of state? Can the divorce still be filed in NC?
Yes! As long as there is one party that resides in North Carolina for a minimum of six months. The divorce will have to be filed in the county the resident resides in.
5) Is spousal support available while divorce is pending in court?
It is up to the court to order that one spouse provide support to the other during the pending stages of the divorce.
6) When is it considered abandonment by a spouse?
Abandonment occurs when a spouse intentionally moves out of the martial home with the intent to remain permanently apart without the consent of the other spouse.
7) Is your spouse entitled to alimony if they cheated?
No! A spouse that is found dependent by the court is not entitled to alimony if they have had sexual relations with another person that is not their spouse at any time prior to the date of separation.
8) What if my spouse does not agree to the divorce, can I still move forward with the divorce complaint?
You can obtain a divorce decree whether your spouse agrees with it or not. There are just two requirements: you and your spouse have to have been separated for one-year and one of you has to have been a resident of North Carolina for 6-months prior to the filing of the divorce.
Adkins Law specializes in Family Law and is prepared to help you with your divorce. We understand you may have more questions before you proceed with a divorce that is why we offer consultations. Give our office a call to schedule your consultation.
In North Carolina, if your spouse cheats on you, you may bring a lawsuit against the paramour for alienation of affection or criminal conversation. This means you may sue the person that slept with your spouse or alienated your relationship. Take a look at this video for more information on heart balm torts in North Carolina.