Legal Question in Family Law in North Carolina

Financial Obligation to Separated Wife

My wife and I separated in late January. I asked her to leave because she had repeated incidents of staying out all night and not contacting me. She moved into a small room about 5 miles away. I have the house and our two teen-age daughters. Since she has moved out, I have paid her rent, her bills, repairs to her car, and given her food and gas money. She has refused to go to marriage counseling with me. She comes over to my house while I am at work and eats my food and uses my computer. She has given no money to help support the girls, although will sometimes take them to McDonalds. She does not work, and insists that I have to legally pay to support her. I have done so up to this time, feeling sorry for her, and hoping for a reconciliation, but she has no inclination to reconcile, and says that if I don't pay her rent, she will take me to court. I really cannot afford to pay for her support anymore, and, don't feel that I should anyway. Am I obligated to financially support her.. she is not looking for work.

Thank you,

Asked on 4/09/03, 9:22 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John McNeil Haas McNeil & Associates, PA

Re: Financial Obligation to Separated Wife

Whether your wife is entitled to postseparation support or alimony depends on many factors. Mainly whether she is a dependent spouse and whether you are the supporting spouse. Also, in North Carolina, there are 16 factors to determining whether a person is entitled to alimony and to how much alimony a person should receive.

If your wife was staying out late due to having an affair, that may be a bar to her recovery of alimony from you.

Given what you have stated about the lack of child support and her behavior prior to separation it is advisable to speak with an attorney in your area and explain to them the details of your case and get a professional opinion regarding what you should do for the future and how to begin receiving child support. If she has the ability to work, she ought to be able to provide support for your children.

Also, you need to protect your home and valuables from your wife's "visits." You should talk with an attorney about how to handle that situation as well.

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Answered on 4/09/03, 9:44 am

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