For many married women, difficult choices are made when the couple starts a family. For women who are in college or are working when they decide to have children, a frequent dilemma arises. This dilemma is whether to continue working or whether to stay home and raise the children. Though not nearly as common, sometimes it is a father who will stay home to care for the children. Fortunately, the laws in North Carolina treat both spouses as equal contributors to a marriage.
What this means is that even though a husband may earn a salary and financially support the family, the law sees the wife’s hard work and incredible responsibilities of raising the children and maintaining the household affords the husband the opportunity to earn money in the workforce. This concept becomes action upon a divorce, when all marital property is subject to an “equitable” division, and may be used as a factor in dividing said property. Beyond property division, courts in North Carolina are also equipped with discretion to assist women who have made this sacrifice. This comes in the form of alimony.
Alimony to Resume Your Career
Alimony, or spousal support, is money paid to a dependent spouse following a separation or divorce. This money can be paid in monthly payments or in a single lump payment. The terms of alimony can be agreed upon in advance via prenuptial agreements, separation agreements, or may be ordered as part of a divorce.
There are numerous factors that courts may consider when entering an alimony order. North Carolina General Statute § 50-16.3A (Alimony) names one of those factors as: “The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs.”
What does this mean for a woman who put aside her higher education or career during a marriage? It means that the law allows her to ask a court to order spousal support so that she can seek out employment or resume educational training to re-enter the workforce. If this interests you, you should ask your attorney. And when meeting with your attorney, bring college transcripts, your resume, and a copy of W-2 Forms from your last job to help establish your education and career goals for alimony purposes.
Speak with An Attorney
If you are planning to get married, or planning to separate, you should consider speaking with an attorney about protecting your future. New Direction Family Law has assisted clients with prenuptial agreements, separations, and divorces for r twenty years. If you are interested in pursuing an agreement with your future or current spouse, we can help. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to set up an appointment or visit us at our website.