Below are some frequently asked questions about Alimony:
Who may qualify for alimony in North Carolina?
Not every North Carolina divorce warrants alimony or spousal support payments. An NC family law court is unlikely to award alimony if both spouses work or are capable of working. A Wilmington family law attorney can review your case and evaluate whether you may be entitled to alimony.
A spouse may receive alimony after a long marriage during which they were a stay-at-home parent, or if they are the primary caretaker of a disabled child or other dependent. In some cases, alimony may be permanent, but often it’s a temporary arrangement to help the lower-earning spouse get back on their feet financially. Alimony will typically end if the recipient remarries or enters into a new domestic partnership.
What’s the difference between alimony and post-separation support?
North Carolina mandates a one-year separation period before a couple can file for divorce. During that time, post-separation support can cover the lower-earning spouse’s living costs or other needs. Post-separation support may also fund education or professional training.
Unlike alimony, which depends on the couple’s separation agreement and begins after divorce, post-separation support is a temporary pre-divorce arrangement that an NC court may order through a quick process that may not even require a hearing. This order will terminate if the spouses resume their marriage or divorce.
How do North Carolina courts determine alimony?
NC family law courts award alimony on a case-by-case basis. A judge may consider:
- Each spouse’s age, income, assets, debts, and earning capacity
- The amount of money the alimony recipient would need to keep up the standard of living they had while married
- The paying spouse’s ability to keep up with alimony payments
- The duration of the marriage
- Marital misconduct like adultery, abuse, or squandering marital assets
A voluntary agreement with your spouse will usually be quicker, cheaper, and less stressful than taking an alimony case to court. Our experienced alimony attorney can help you negotiate a mutually acceptable alimony plan.
Do I need an alimony lawyer?
We recommend consulting an alimony attorney if:
- You are preparing for divorce and plan to request alimony, or
- You disagree with your spouse’s alimony request (for example, you believe your spouse is demanding an excessive alimony amount)
Our Wilmington divorce lawyers can protect your legal rights and help you settle all financial aspects of divorce, including alimony. Call our office at Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division in Wilmington, NC, at (910) 769-7339 for a consultation.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401