Alimony is designed to provide financial support for a spouse who is unable to become self-supporting after the divorce. In North Carolina, there are several factors that the court will consider in determining whether alimony should be awarded and in what amount. These include the length of the marriage, the relative incomes of the spouses, the standard of living enjoyed during marriage, and each spouse's contributions to the marriage. The court will also consider any factors that would make it difficult for a spouse to find employment, such as childcare responsibilities or a lack of job skills. Ultimately, the goal of alimony is to provide financial assistance for a reasonable period of time so that the recipient spouse can get back on his or her feet after divorce.
Types of Spousal Support in North Carolina
There are two types of financial support that may be awarded to a spouse following a divorce: alimony and post-separation support. Alimony is designed to provide long-term financial assistance, while post-separation support is meant to be temporary. In North Carolina, alimony may be awarded if the marriage was of long duration, if one spouse has a substantially higher income than the other, or if one spouse is unable to work due to disability. Post-separation support, on the other hand, is typically awarded if the marriage was of short duration or if both spouses have similar incomes. It is important to note that alimony may be awarded even if the divorce is not finalized, while post-separation support terminates when the divorce is final.
Determining Eligibility for Alimony
In order to determine whether a person will owe alimony (the “supporting spouse”) or will be eligible to receive it (the “dependent spouse”), there are several factors to consider, the first of which is the need of the spouse who would be requesting alimony. This includes consideration of the standard of living that was established during the marriage. The second factor is the ability of the spouse paying alimony to meet his or her own needs while also paying alimony to the other. This includes consideration of income, earning capacity, and assets. The third factor is the duration of the marriage. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will be ordered for a longer period of time. The fourth factor is whether there was any marital misconduct on either spouse's part. There are multiple other factors and considerations, so call our office to schedule an appointment so we can discuss the specifics of your case.
FAQs on Alimony in North Carolina
What qualifies a spouse for alimony in North Carolina?
The amount and duration of alimony payments are determined by a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the couple's standard of living during the marriage, each spouse's earning capacity, and each spouse's financial needs. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum or in periodic payments, and it can be terminated if either spouse remarries or if either spouse dies. If you are considering divorce in North Carolina and expect to receive alimony, it is important to speak with a family law attorney.
How long is alimony paid in NC?
In North Carolina, alimony is typically paid for a period of equal to half the length of the marriage. However, the court may order alimony to be paid for a shorter or longer period of time depending on the specific circumstances of the divorce. For example, alimony may be ordered for a shorter period of time if the couple has only been married for a few years. Alternatively, alimony may be ordered for a longer period of time if one spouse is significantly older than the other or if one spouse earns a much higher income than the other. Ultimately, alimony is intended to help the less financially prosperous spouse maintain their standard of living after divorce.
Can a working spouse seek alimony?
In North Carolina, alimony is generally reserved for situations where one spouse has been financially dependent on the other during the marriage. However, there are some circumstances where a working spouse may be eligible for alimony. This usually occurs when the spouse has a much lower income than the other or is unable to work due to childcare responsibilities. In these cases, alimony can help the working spouse maintain their standard of living after divorce. If you think you may be eligible for alimony, it's important to speak with an experienced family law attorney. They can help you understand the laws in North Carolina and determine whether you have a strong case for alimony.
What happens if the supporting spouse fails to pay alimony?
If a supporting spouse fails to paying alimony in North Carolina, the court may take a number of different actions. The first step is typically to order the delinquent spouse to make a lump sum payment to cover the past-due alimony. If this isn't possible or if the delinquent spouse continues to fall behind, the court may order wage garnishment. This means that a portion of the delinquent spouse's paycheck will be withheld and used to pay alimony. In extreme cases, the court may even order the seizure of assets, such as property or investments. Ultimately, it is up to the court to decide what action to take, but failure to pay alimony can have serious consequences.