Category Archives for "Alimony"

Ending ongoing spousal support

When a couple in North Carolina divorces, one of the parties may be ordered to pay the other alimony. There are usually situations that signal an end to alimony payments like when the recipient remarries, but payments can continue for a long time in some cases. The actor David Hasselhoff has paid alimony to his ex-wife Pamela Bach since their 2006 divorce, and he pays $21,000 per month.

The “Baywatch” actor and recent reality star is asking a judge for permission to stop paying alimony as he wants to retire soon and reportedly had to spend some of his retirement savings to keep making payments. His gross income is $112,000, and the 63-year-old man also uses a portion of that income to take care of the couple’s two daughters as he has physical custody. He has also been dating 34-year-old Hayley Roberts for five years.

Hasselhoff and Bach were married for 17 years, and 52-year-old Bach has appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother” after the couple’s split. However, Hasselhoff claims that his former spouse is talented and could work as an actress or a producer. He alleges that she could become self-supporting if she tried to find work.

Alimony typically goes to the party who made less money or contributed to the marriage in some other fashion, and it is intended to help them keep the same standard of living. Alimony and child support are different, so one could receive both or only one depending on the situation. If the alimony recipient has become employed and no longer needs additional funds, a family law attorney could be of assistance in petitioning the court for a modification or termination of the order.

March Madness: NCAA Tournament, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break and …Alimony?

Typically when spouses decide to go their separate ways, there can be great difficulty in stretching income that would pay for expenses of one household to now pay for two. In North Carolina, the claim of alimony or spousal support is recognized and often brought by one party who is dependent upon the other spouse for economic support. A Court may look at the reasonable needs of the dependent spouse (the spouse who claims that they are in need of maintenance and support) to determine if they are truly in need of support from the other spouse. If the Court finds that a dependent spouse is in need and the supporting spouse has the ability to pay, after taking into consideration the supporting spouses reasonable needs, the Court may award alimony.

There is a caveat to the above, and that is the Court will also consider if the awarding of alimony or spousal support is equitable under the factors enumerated by North Carolina law. The month of March is unique in that it presents an opportunity to highlight several considerations that the Court may evaluate in the determination of whether an award of alimony is equitable under the circumstances. As you probably well know, March Madness brings with it a great opportunity to watch lots of college basketball, and the opportunity to waste a lot of money betting on games. St. Patrick’s Day is often associated with drinking in excess. These two events in the month of March highlight two typical fact patterns used in determining whether or not an award of alimony would be equitable. If a Court finds that one spouse, whether supporting or dependent, is engaged in excessive alcohol use or gambling, the Court may determine that it is more or less equitable to award alimony. The Court, however, is not bound to decide either way if the facts bear out excessive gambling or drinking.

However, too much fun on Spring Break could have more of an impact on the Court’s analysis. Many spouses in unhappy marriages may use vacation as an opportunity to take a break and perhaps stray from their marital vows. Illicit sexual behavior committed by either spouse can have a determinative impact on the Court’s analysis of an alimony claim. North Carolina law provides that if a supporting spouse commits illicit sexual behavior and the dependent spouse has not, the supporting spouse must pay some amount of alimony. Conversely, if a dependent spouse commits illicit sexual behavior and the supporting spouse does not, the Court must deny an alimony award. If both spouses commit illicit sexual behavior then the Court is not obligated by law to decide one way or the other.

The Madness of March brings the opportunity of warmer weather, spring break, basketball frenzies, and The Luck of the Irish. With all of the excitement ushered in with the promise of Spring, please keep in mind the dangers that the month of March may also present to spouses with respect to alimony.

Dealing with taxes after divorce

Residents of North Carolina who have gone through a divorce may need to adjust their approaches to filing their taxes. Most importantly, a divorced party will file as single, which means that records must be kept separately for use in the process of preparing a tax return. Additionally, it is important to be sure that one’s Social Security number is not being used by an ex-spouse for their return.

A divorce settlement that involves alimony or child support could carry tax implications for either party. For example, the individual paying alimony is able to deduct those amounts, and the recipient will need to report these funds as income. Child support, on the other hand, is not deductible to the paying party and is not income for the recipient. An individual who owes support but falls behind on payments could face problems with collecting an income tax refund as these funds could be intercepted to satisfy outstanding obligations. Legal fees related to divorce are typically not deductible, but legal fees paid to get help in handling divorce-related tax matters could be.

Additional issues that could arise during divorce proceedings include the ability to claim a child on a tax return. In some cases, parents’ returns won’t be helped by claiming a child, which may allow the other party to make the claim instead. If both parents could benefit, however, then a divorce settlement might provide for a rotating schedule allowing parents to take turns in claiming a child.

During divorce proceedings, a parent might be focused strictly on the imminent issues of finances and custody. However, a lawyer may address matters such as rights and responsibilities related to income taxes and other situations to ensure that these factors are considered during settlement negotiations.

Dealing with alimony

Courts consider a number of factors when determining whether to order spousal support in a particular case. These factors may include such things as the length of the marriage, the total gross income of each spouse, whether a nonworking spouse has the education and background needed to enter the workforce and the age of the parties. When the marriage has been a long one and there is a large disparity between the incomes of the two spouses, alimony may be likely to be ordered.

People have a couple of options when they believe they are going to be required to pay alimony. They can try to negotiate an agreed-upon monthly amount with a specified duration. They might also be able to offer to buy out the other spouse’s potential right to alimony payments in order to prevent having to make continuous monthly payments. Some spouses who stand to receive alimony also choose to forgo it because of their beliefs in self-sufficiency or simply the desire to cut all ties.

When spousal maintenance is set and ordered by the court, the paying spouse will be required to pay the amount each month exactly as ordered. If their financial situation later changes in a substantial way, they may want to see a family law attorney. Through their attorney, the paying spouse can seek to modify the ordered amount to one that is more affordable. The spouse may also file such a request if their former spouse’s financial situation has changed to a degree that they no longer need the payments.

Dean McDermott behind on alimony payments to ex-wife

Now, McDermott is reportedly having legal problems involving the woman he was married to before Spelling. According to reports, McDermott owes about $45,000 in unpaid child support and alimony. One source told Radar Online that McDermott has not made a single monthly payment for the care of his 16-year-old son since February.

McDermott and Spelling may be having financial problems, as several reports have claimed that the couple is living paycheck to paycheck. The couple and their four children moved to a more modest home over the summer and reportedly raised cash by holding a garage sale. Following the Lifetime TV reality show ‘True Tori” in which McDermott was seen attempting to win back Spelling’s trust, McDermott has said that he will no longer be sorting out his personal issues on camera.

When an individual can no longer afford to make alimony or child support payments to an ex-spouse, one or both of the original court orders may need to be modified. An attorney may be able to petition the court for a modification of the alimony and child support orders. To have a payment order modified, the ex-spouse who is obligated to make the payments must in most cases show proof that there has been a significant change in financial circumstances.

Modifying support orders in North Carolina

Cohabitation may be described as two adults living together habitually and continuously in a private heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Even without an official marriage, cohabitation may exist once the couple mutually adopts the duties, obligations, rights and intimate relations realized by married spouses. Once North Carolina assumes jurisdiction over an alimony order issued in another state, the new order supersedes any existing order, and be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances.

In order to change the jurisdiction from another state to North Carolina,┬ácivil action may be required. A new order will be entered in the local judicial system, and it will either supersede or modify the previous order if changes in the family’s dynamic warrants as much. The new order will only be modified to the extent that it would have been in the state where the order originated.

People who need more information about modifying an existing divorce order may benefit from consulting a divorce lawyer who has experience in family law matters. Legal counsel may be prepared to review the current circumstances of each party and the existing order in an effort to help determine whether or not a modification is warranted.

Actions to enforce alimony orders in North Carolina

There are some cases in North Carolina in which a person who was ordered to pay a former spouse alimony either falls delinquent or refuses to pay at all. In those cases, the law provides several remedies for the intended recipient to utilize in order to collect the amounts rightfully owed to them.

Upon notification of the delinquency or failure to pay alimony, the court may order the amount to be paid in a lump sum to the recipient. The court may also order the transfer of title of property to the recipient or place a lien against the payer’s real or personal property to secure payment. Payment of court-ordered alimony may be made by wage garnishment or bank levy.

Courts may find the payer to be in contempt of the court’s order and thus subject to the arrest and bail provisions under state law. The payee is also viewed as a creditor with all of the rights creditors have to seek and enforce a judgment against the delinquent or nonpaying party. The payee may notify the court through filing a motion for contempt in order to enforce the alimony award.

People who are ordered to pay alimony who need a change to the amount due to financial circumstances may file a motion with the court to seek an alimony modification. As the consequences for simply failing to pay or allowing delinquent amounts to accrue may be quite severe, those who are ordered to pay alimony should continue to do so until the court issues its decision regarding the modification request. Those who need such a modification may consider getting the help of a family law attorney as soon as their financial circumstances have changed.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly, “Chapter 50. Divorce and Alimony. “, December 31, 2014