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How spousal support is determined and collected

Spousal support is often one of the primary issues decided in a North Carolina divorce. However, it’s usually one of the last points that gets settled in court. That’s because the division of assets has a big impact on how much support an ex-spouse might need to maintain a decent standard of living. The final figure is often calculated using five different factors: the recipient spouse’s needs, length of marriage, age/health, prior lifestyle and the ability of the payer spouse to pay.

Spousal support agreements can be modified after a court decision when financial circumstances change for either party. However, arrangements can also be made to setup non-modifiable support to avoid future court costs. Spousal support almost always has an end date, but the agreement can end early. This happens when one of the spouses dies or when the recipient spouse remarries.

While there are no guarantees that the recipient spouse in a support agreement will always get their payments, there are some safeguards that can be arranged. An agreement can require that the payer spouse open a life insurance policy to ensure that payments will still be made in the event of a death. Disability insurance can serve the same purpose in the case of a serious accident. An annuity can help fund monthly payments over a long period of time.

Ex-partners on both sides of a spousal support issue have the right to legal counsel. A lawyer can help a client come to an agreement during the original divorce proceedings and help make modifications in the event that financial circumstances change. If an agreement can’t be made amicably through mediation, an attorney could advocate for their client’s interests in family court.