If you are getting divorced in North Carolina, you likely have questions about alimony, also known as spousal support, especially if you or your spouse earns a significantly higher income than the other. In today's blog post, we're answering some of the most commonly asked questions about NC alimony.
Who can receive alimony?
If one spouse can be considered “dependent” on the other, he or she may be awarded alimony in the divorce. To be considered dependent, you must rely on your spouse for monetary support and maintenance during your marriage. Courts take into consideration the standard of living to which the couple, and in turn each individual, has become accustomed to over the course of the marriage, with special attention paid to the most recent few years. If you want to receive alimony you must be able to show that you cannot reasonably maintain that standard of living with your personal financial resources. The judge also considers your income-earning ability, your debts (both marital and separate), and whether you and/or your former spouse are supporting dependent children.
How is the dollar amount of alimony calculated?
The judge will make a decision based on many factors such as:
- Age and health of you and your ex spouse
- How long you were married
- Whether you or your spouse contributed non financially as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent
- Past education and educational needs
- Misconduct within the marital relationship
- Tax ramifications
Essentially, anything that factors into your economic circumstances may be considered by the judge when making this decision.
Does alimony have to be paid indefinitely?
Not necessarily. Here are some situations in which alimony obligations would cease:
- The dependent spouse remarries OR cohabitates with a significant other of any gender
- The dependent spouse and supporting spouse get married to each other again
- Either spouse passes away
- The judge builds an expiration date into the alimony requirement
Can I still be required to pay alimony if I was not at fault in the divorce?
Yes. You do not need to have made any mistake in order to be liable for alimony. However, if you are the dependent, proof that you had an affair and the supporting spouse did not can in some cases cancel out your entitlement to alimony.
Who can help?
If you have questions about North Carolina spousal support laws, we can help you at The Law Offices of Regina M. Taylor. Contact us today if you want to ask us a question or if you're ready to partner with an experienced family lawyer.