In a ruling that could set a precedent for how some divorces in North Carolina and other states are handled, an appeals court told a U.S. citizen that he has to pay spousal support for his ex. What makes the case particularly noteworthy is that the man had already won a lower court ruling declaring he wasn't liable for providing support because his prenuptial agreement made other provisions.
The higher court's overruling decision was based on the fact that the ex-wife in question was an immigrant. At the time the pair got married, she was allowed to come to the country because she and her husband had filled out an I-864 affidavit stating that she could support herself financially. This assertion was partially based on the income that her husband had agreed to provide for her.
The court determined that even though the prenuptial agreement said the husband would only supply a small level of support for his ex, it didn't absolve him of the responsibilities he had taken on with the I-864. Experts say this affidavit is specifically designed to prevent immigrant divorcees from requiring public assistance following martial splits. Notably, the judges also rejected the argument that the man shouldn't have to pay because the woman was receiving food stamps and assistance from her adult son.
Going through a divorce can be complicated by issues like immigrant status and the existence of prenuptial agreements. Those who believe they're entitled to certain benefits or payouts may also find that their spouses resist their obligations. In some cases, such disputes result in protracted legal battles. Consulting with an attorney may help those caught in these disagreements to achieve resolutions that ultimately reduce the amount of time and money spent in court.