Modification of Alimony Issue on Remand from N.C. Supreme Court

The North Carolina Supreme Court remanded the case of Underwood vs. Underwood to the North Carolina Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the ruling in Walters vs. Walters. The North Carolina Court of Appeals decided that its first decision stands and that the case is reversed and remanded to the trial court. In the first opinion, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that hte trial court did not have the ability to make a modification of alimony payments where the payments were made pursuant to a Consent order and when the alimony payments are reciprocal consideration for equitable distribution provisions.

The N.C. Court of Appeals, after reviewing the Walters opinion concluded that the issue of whether “reciprocal consideration” alimony payments may be modified had previously been addressed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the case of Hayes vs. Hayes. In Hayes, the Court determined that periodic payments in an integrated agreement did not constitute true alimony and they were therefore not subject to modification. It further held that the only periodic payments which are subject to modification by the Court are “true alimony” which are payments which are not reciprocal consideration for other provisions of the settlement.

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