Contact the Family Law Team
P: (919) 821-4711


Physical Address:
Wells Fargo Building
150 Fayetteville Street
Suite 1800
Raleigh, NC 27601


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1151
Raleigh, NC 27602

(Wake County)
(919) 821-4711
Fax: (919) 829-1583

Tharrington Smith's Family Law Team

Alimony & Spousal Support


The family law attorneys at Tharrington Smith provide legal representation in all aspects of divorce including the following:

  • pursuing claims for postseparation support and/or alimony;
  • defending claims for postseparation support and/or alimony;
  • seeking a modification (increase or decrease) of awards for postseparation support and/or alimony.

In North Carolina, the term “postseparation support” refers to temporary spousal support that is awarded to a dependent spouse for a limited or short period of time following the separation of the spouses. Alimony refers to spousal support that is awarded to a dependent spouse for a longer period of time, sometimes permanently.

Postseparation support and alimony are not available in every case. For postseparation support and/or alimony to be awarded, the court must find that one spouse is substantially dependent upon the other spouse for maintenance and support, and that the other spouse is the supporting spouse and has the ability to pay postseparation support and/or alimony.

Unlike child support, there are no guidelines or mathematical formulas for a judge to apply in determining the amount, manner of payment, and duration of a postseparation support and/or alimony award. North Carolina law sets forth numerous factors that a judge should consider in determining awards of postseparation support and/or alimony. These factors include, but are not limited to, the incomes and expenses of both parties, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, debt service obligations, contributions of a spouse as a homemaker, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the earnings and income earning potential of the parties. The trial judges are vested with wide discretion in the weight that they give to these various factors. Because of this latitude, awards for postseparation support and alimony can vary substantially from one case to the next.

Spouses do not have to let a judge decide the important issues of postseparation support and alimony. Our attorneys have the proficiency to offer advice, counsel, and guidance to facilitate resolution of these issues without going to court. Whenever possible, we encourage our clients to explore and participate in alternative methods of dispute resolution, including settlement negotiations, mediation, and arbitration. These alternatives are almost always less expensive than going to court, and eliminate the uncertainty of a trial.

The family law attorneys at Tharrington Smith have comprehensive experience representing both dependent spouses and supporting spouses. We apply a broad set of skills and resources to assist you in resolving your matter effectively and efficiently. Our family law attorneys are skilled negotiators and we will strive to help you resolve your matters outside of court. If your circumstances warrant litigation, be assured that we are seasoned trial lawyers and are prepared to vigorously present your claims in court.

Tharrington Smith's Family Law Team


We deal with people,
not cases.