Updated: January 25, 2023
When going through a separation and divorce, many people worry about financial support. Money may become a lot tighter without the additional income that your spouse provided. Fortunately, North Carolina law allows some divorcing spouses to receive alimony payments.
What Are Alimony Payments?
Alimony is the payment of money from a “supporting spouse” to a “dependent spouse” after a divorce is finalized. The court decides which spouse is “supporting” and which is “dependent”. Neither spouse is automatically entitled to alimony payments regardless of their situation – the court must evaluate all relevant information about the marriage and the spouses. In addition, the court decides the “amount, duration, and manner of payment” of alimony. Alimony can last indefinitely or may last for a set amount of time.
Factors in Awarding Alimony
The court considers many factors when evaluating whether to award alimony. These factors include:
- The spouse’s earnings and earning capacities
- Amount and sources of income
- Relative assets and liabilities
- Duration of the marriage
- The spouses’ ages
- The spouses’ mental, physical, and emotional condition
- Contribution of one spouse to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power
- The spouses’ relative education and any time needed to get more education or training
- Extent to which earnings or finances of a spouse will be affected by having custody of a child
- The spouses’ standard of living during the marriage
- Property brought to the marriage
- Marital misconduct of either spouse
There are even more factors that the court must weigh in making its decision. As you can see, making an alimony award is a fact-intensive issue during a divorce.
Can the Court Disqualify You from Receiving Alimony?
A spouse might be disqualified from receiving alimony due to marital misconduct (having an affair, reckless spending, abandonment, etc.). The dependent spouse, as determined by the court, cannot receive alimony if he or she engaged in an act of “illicit sexual behavior” during the marriage and before the separation date. However, if both spouses engaged in illicit sexual behavior, then the court could award alimony in its discretion. If one spouse supports or condones the behavior, the court shall not consider it. In addition, the court can consider post-separation date marital misconduct as evidence supporting other evidence that marital misconduct occurred during the marriage.
If you are seeking alimony or opposing a request for alimony by your spouse, you need legal help. A lawyer can assist you in presenting evidence relating to the many factors that the judge must consider in making an alimony award. In addition, if there has been marital misconduct, a lawyer can advise you about your rights.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are seeking alimony during a divorce, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake county, Durham county, Johnston county, and other select counties in North Carolina. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.