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Tag Archives: Alimony

Domestic Relations – Alimony – Dependent Spouse – Unsustainable Lifestyle – Equitable Distribution –Insufficient Findings (access required)

Bodie v. Bodie The defendant-wife was unable to show that she was a dependent spouse because there is a surplus left each month, after deducting all of her expenses from her net monthly income. Even though the wife contends that this is only possible because she lowered her standard of living compared to what the parties maintained when they were married, the evidence showed that the parties had to borrow money to maintain that standard of living. The wife has cited no authority establishing that alimony may be awarded for the purpose of maintaining a lifestyle that rests upon such a shaky foundation.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Civil Practice – Contempt – Cost-of-Living Increases – Evidence – DOL Website Printouts – Ability to Pay – Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Blackburn v. Bugg In support of her claim for cost-of-living increases to her alimony – which were called for in the parties’ premarital agreement – plaintiff presented computer printouts from the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. Even if defendant had preserved the issue of authentication for appeal, plaintiff’s testimony about obtaining the printouts from the DOL website and the “UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS” heading on the printouts were sufficient to prove that the computer printouts were what plaintiff purported them to be. Moreover, the consumer price index information set forth in the computer printouts is public information subject to judicial notice.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Dependency – Future Income – Disability Benefits – Couple’s Pharmacy (access required)

Taylor v. Taylor In its order denying alimony to a disabled husband, the trial court found that the husband had been able to maintain his standard of living despite his disability. However, the trial court also found that the husband’s private-insurance disability benefits would cease when he turned 65; moreover, the source of some of the husband’s income – the couple’s pharmacy – was distributed to the wife in the court’s equitable distribution order. The trial court should have made findings as to whether the husband would continue to be able to maintain his standard of living.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Recipient’s Alleged Cohabitation – Inferences — Objective Evidence (access required)

Russo v. Russo Even though the defendant-wife and Bryan Fisher had a mostly exclusive sexual relationship for 15 months, and even though Fisher spent a significant amount of time at the wife’s house, the evidence did not show either that the wife and Fisher continuously and habitually dwelled together or that they assumed the marital rights, duties, and obligations that are usually manifested by a married couple. We affirm the trial court’s denial of the plaintiff-husband’s motion to terminate alimony.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Sexual Misconduct – Physical & Verbal Abuse – Equitable Distribution – Classification – Separate Property – Marital Gift Presumption (access required)

Romulus v. Romulus Despite the defendant-husband’s own marital misconduct - in the form of physical abuse of the plaintiff-wife and physical and verbal abuse of the parties’ children - the wife is barred from receiving alimony because she engaged in illicit sexual activity in 1999.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Termination – Cohabitation – Consent Order – Property Settlement – Reciprocity Provision (access required)

Underwood v. Underwood Even though the parties’ consent order covered property settlements as well as alimony and stated that its provisions were reciprocal, the mere incantation of the phrase “reciprocal consideration” does not render alimony nonmodifiable. Since the defendant-wife is cohabiting, the trial court correctly terminated the plaintiff-husband’s alimony obligation.

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Domestic Relations – Alimony – Duration & Amount – Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Dorwani v. Dorwani Even though the plaintiff-wife is eligible to receive social security benefits as the surviving spouse from a prior marriage, these benefits are insufficient to meet her needs. Moreover, the trial court found that the defendant-husband is relatively young, healthy, well-educated, and capable of substantial earnings; on the other hand, plaintiff is much older, in poor health, comparatively uneducated, and unqualified for employment which could provide a substantial income. Contrary to defendant’s argument, plaintiff is not capable of the type of work, nor is she eligible for the amount of social security benefits, necessary to meet her needs.

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Pending bills would revamp points of family practice (access required)

Matters at the heart of the practice of family law in North Carolina are the focus of several bills pending in the state's legislature this spring. Two bills address the payment of child support by non-parents, two would alter provisions relating to protective orders and one would mandate the awarding of attorney's fees to prevailing defendants in cases.

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