If you’re considering divorce, you likely have concerns regarding how your divorce will impact you financially. Divorce can be one of the most challenging times in a person's life. A significant source of stress for each member of a divorcing couple is concern about their financial future. It is especially true if one partner has been the primary earner in the past. The lower-earning or non-earning spouse may be apprehensive about their ability to pay their financial obligations.
At Speaks Law Firm, PC, Family Law Division, our alimony attorney can help you understand North Carolina’s alimony law and your rights and obligations and answer any questions you may have. We will work hard to ensure that you have a complete picture of your spouse's finances and that you can make informed decisions to meet your current and future financial needs. In this article, we answer some of the frequently asked questions we receive about alimony.
What Are the Types of Spousal Support in North Carolina?
North Carolina generally has two types of spousal support: post-separation support and alimony awarded after the divorce is finalized. These support payments each fill a different need for separating or divorcing spouses.
- Post-separation support offers temporary relief from independent expenses during separation. In North Carolina, spouses must separate for a year before filing for divorce. The spouse moving out may have new rent expenses, utility bills, and a reduction in income if they were the lower-income spouse.
- Alimony offers support for the long term after a divorce, lasting until the death of either spouse, the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse, or until the terms outlined in the divorce settlement agreement, such as a period of five years.
Your alimony attorney can help you draft your terms for spousal support in mediation, during separation, or after divorce. However, your alimony lawyer will tell you that the earlier in the divorce process you seek legal help, the more likely you are to receive an appropriate sum.
Can I Pursue Spousal Support During Separation?
Yes, you can receive post-separation support while living apart from your spouse. Your alimony attorney can help you file the paperwork to request support.
The court will look at both spouses' financial resources and expenses and award post-separation support according to need and ability to pay. You and your spouse both have necessities of life expenses such as housing, food, utilities, and more. The court will not award either spouse more than the other can pay and continue to live comfortably.
Post-separation support is temporary, either until the divorce finalizes or until the lower-earning spouse can become self-sufficient through education or a higher-paying career. Stay-at-home parents often have gaps on their resumes that can deter ready reentry to the workforce.
Post-separation support can help you or your soon-to-be-ex pay essential living expenses while establishing a new home and career.
What Considerations Will the Court Make for Alimony in a Divorce Case?
The court considers several points while determining alimony awards and amounts, including:
- Each spouse’s income and earnings
- Age of each spouse
- Length of the marriage
- Standard of living
- Each spouse’s regular expenses
- Education and need for retraining to obtain employment
- Household contribution
- Tax debts and responsibilities
- Future earning potential
- Financial resources
Your alimony lawyer can help you negotiate with your spouse’s alimony lawyer to agree to specific terms before finalizing the divorce in court. The judge can decide in court if you and your spouse can’t agree to alimony terms.
A knowledgeable alimony attorney can help you understand the most likely result and how you can build an argument to best present your position in your alimony case.
How Long Can I Receive Alimony Payments?
You and your spouse can agree to a specific term for alimony payments, or you may receive alimony indefinitely. If you receive indefinite alimony, payments will end under certain conditions, including:
- The death of either spouse
- The remarriage or cohabitation by the receiving spouse
- Resuming the marriage between the spouses
Your alimony attorney can help you outline additional terms for alimony payments in your divorce settlement agreement, such as requesting to receive alimony for a set period or until a specific event, like your youngest child graduating from college.
How Do I Find a Divorce Lawyer Near Me?
You can search for “divorce lawyers near me” online and ask friends and family for recommendations. Be sure to read client reviews for each attorney and firm to narrow the field for your options.
When you have your top options, schedule a consultation to discuss to determine if they’re a good fit for you.
Some attorneys work independently of other lawyers in their firms, meaning only one attorney reviews your divorce case. Other firms discuss cases like yours between attorneys in the firm, allowing your alimony attorney to gather several points of view and additional years of experience for your case.
Call Speaks Law Firm, Family Law Attorneys in Wilmington, North Carolina, for Spousal Support in Your Divorce Case
At Speaks Law Firm, we will be your advocate who speaks for you, standing by your side during this difficult time to assist you in moving forward with your family's future. Our skilled and experienced alimony attorneys will walk you through every step of the divorce process. We can assist you with any aspect of divorce and family law. Our firm is committed to defending our clients against bullies, including spouses. When you need an alimony attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401