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Man ordered to pay spousal support to ex-wife despite prenup

North Carolina couples who sign a prenuptial agreement cannot always be certain that the provisions of that document will be upheld in court. One woman challenged the terms of a prenup that denied alimony in the event of a divorce. She argued that because her ex-husband had signed an I-864 Affidavit of Support, which affirmed his financial support of her since she was an immigrant, he was obligated to continue to supporting her.

A lower and higher court both agreed with the woman. However, the courts split over the issue of the woman's son's income. He made $3,200 per month, and she lived with him. The lower court ruled that this was sufficient support and that her husband, a real estate agent worth almost $5 million, was not obligated to offer any additional spousal support.

However, the Ninth Circuit court argued that the willingness of a third party to support an immigrant should not come into consideration or lead to breaking the contract of the I-864. According to one of the judges, this could lead to a situation in which a sponsor simply ceases to support an immigrant and then benefits when another person steps in to help.

Alimony may be an issue as many marriages end. Lower-earning spouses might be concerned about how divorce will affect their financial situation in the case of alimony. A higher-earning spouse might be concerned about how the requirement to pay alimony could affect their own financial security. In either case, the person might hesitate to seek a divorce for fear of how it will affect them financially. An individual with these concerns might want to discuss the situation with an attorney.

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