(910) 769-7339

When you and your spouse make the decision to end your marriage, there are many things that have to be considered. You need to fairly split up your assets and property and decide on issues regarding the children. In addition, you or your spouse may request alimony. Alimony is money that is provided from one spouse to the other after a marriage is dissolved. Alimony may be temporary or permanent and may be provided during the separation period. To ensure that alimony is issued in a way that is fair to all parties, these matters need to be determined with assistance from a Wilmington, NC alimony lawyer.

Types of Spousal Support for North Carolina Residents

In general, there are two types of spousal support. Post-separation support is temporary support and is money paid from one person to the other for a short period of time. Alimony may continue for a long duration. Post-separation support might be needed when a person has been out of the workforce for a period of time. The spouse needs some time to prepare a resume and find a job before he or she can be expected to be self-sufficient. The type of spousal support you may be able to receive depends on your individual situation. Your North Carolina alimony lawyer will answer your questions and explain the types of alimony that are available to you.

Post-Separation Support

Post-separation support is meant to address immediate financial needs and is normally provided for a short period of time. Usually, it is paid during the separation period. In North Carolina, couples must live apart for a year before they can divorce. During that time, one spouse may need money to pay for living expenses and other costs. Both you and your spouse need money to pay for food, housing, and clothing – the basics in life. Your alimony lawyer is available to review your case and make recommendations based on your specific needs.

Sometimes a spouse needs to get some retraining or additional education before reentering the workforce. Post-separation support may help bridge the gap until the spouse completes this educational period and is able to obtain employment. An alimony lawyer in Wilmington, NC will review your situation and help you determine whether temporary alimony is an option.


Alimony is less common today than in previous generations. Alimony is provided after the divorce rather than during the separation. In many families today, both spouses work, and they both may have college degrees. These factors may make it more likely that they will be able to find employment in the future.

Alimony is most often necessary for situations where the couple has been married for a long period of time or when one party is not expected to be able to go back to work. For example, when the wife was a stay-at-home mother and didn’t work for many years, it can be difficult for her to jump back into the workplace with such a large gap in her work history.

Alimony may also apply in some other situations. For instance, if one spouse takes care of a disabled child or elderly parent, there may be a need for permanent support. However, keep in mind that alimony isn’t intended for those who are capable of finding gainful employment. In general, alimony is supposed to assist you during your time of need.

Consult with alimony attorneys to learn more about alimony. Alimony lawyers understand these options and will advise you based on your particular situation. If you are unsure about whether you qualify for alimony, discuss the matter with an alimony lawyer.

How Long Does North Carolina Alimony Last?

Alimony lawyers can examine your case to consider the possibility of either spouse receiving spousal support. The courts will decide whether alimony will be paid as a lump sum or in regular payments. It may be ordered for a specific length of time or indefinitely. When the length of alimony is indefinite, it will be terminated only due to one of a number of conditions, including:

  • If the parties resume their marriage
  • When either party dies
  • When the recipient gets remarried
  • When the recipient lives with a new partner

These terms and conditions can be decided upon by agreement by both parties during settlement negotiations. In addition to these conditions of termination, you and your spouse may decide on a specific date or condition under which alimony will end. For instance, you may decide that alimony will be paid for a period of five years. This can then be put into the settlement agreement with help from an alimony lawyer. The judge will typically allow whatever the parties agreed to in their pre-divorce discussions. Your alimony attorney will work with you to review your need for support or ability to make alimony payments.

How Alimony is Determined in North Carolina

In North Carolina there are not any recommended guidelines for the determination of alimony. Instead, there is a two-part test that courts utilize to decide whether alimony should be provided. The first part of the test looks at the amount of money a spouse needs to continue living with the same standards as they did in the marriage. To this end, the judge reviews the spouse’s expenses compared with the available income. Alimony lawyers will use these tests to find out whether you should request alimony.

Next, the courts determine whether the spouse who is to provide support has the ability to pay alimony. In addition to these two tests, the judge is allowed to take many other factors into consideration when making this decision. Some of the things that the judge may consider include:

  • Earnings of each spouse
  • Age
  • Physical, mental and emotional state
  • Length of the marriage
  • Standard of living
  • Financial requirements of each spouse
  • Education of each party and potential retraining to obtain employment
  • Ability to earn a sufficient income
  • Contribution to the household
  • Sources of income
  • Assets and liabilities
  • Marital misconduct
  • Tax implications

You should consult with your alimony lawyer as soon as possible in the process. If you are in need of alimony following a divorce, your alimony attorney will work to attain it on your behalf. Negotiation with your spouse’s alimony attorneys can sometimes result in a fair compromise. In cases where couples cannot agree, the decision will be left up to the court.

Keep in mind that the judge may not make a decision that you like. Before you allow that to occur, your alimony lawyer will advise you as to what possible outcome may happen. You will need to prove that you have a need for assistance either on a temporary or permanent basis. Be prepared for the most likely result.

If you are requested to pay alimony, but feel it is unfair, you will need to provide proof of your position. Talk to your alimony attorneys who will help you gather any information and documentation necessary to prove your case. Your alimony lawyer will work to protect your rights throughout the procedure.

When you are requesting payment, an alimony lawyer in Wilmington, NC will review all of the information and help make a determination before the matter gets to court. Then, the attorney will work to obtain a fair amount of alimony in an agreement with the spouse, prior to going to court.

Marital Misconduct and Alimony in North Carolina

Proving fault for the divorce or separation is not necessary for obtaining alimony. However, it can be used by a judge in making an alimony decision. When a spouse has committed adultery or some other type of misconduct, the judge may use the information in the fact-gathering process. For instance, if a spouse was having an affair and spent thousands of dollars a month on the other person, the judge may feel justified in ordering a more equitable amount of spousal support to make up for the lost money. Additionally, illicit sexual behavior is an absolute bar to alimony. An alimony attorney will look into the matter to see whether there may be a case.

While these types of cases are not unheard of, they aren’t very common. Unless you have sufficient proof of excess funds being improperly spent due to marital misconduct, do not expect to gain any extra compensation. Your alimony lawyer will examine the details of your specific case to consider your best options.

Special Circumstances for North Carolina Alimony

Each case is different and has a unique set of circumstances, so it is best to have it reviewed by an alimony attorney. Sometimes there are special considerations that must be reviewed in the determination of alimony. When one spouse is disabled or unable to work, alimony may be required to support the person for a period of time or indefinitely. Some other special circumstances may exist that make alimony a requirement. Your alimony lawyer will discuss these with you to find out whether any situations exist that require receipt or payment of alimony.

Other situations may also be unique to your marriage. When a couple has been married for a long time, and one partner hasn’t worked, the expectation is that the partner will continue to be supported, even after the marriage ends. When a person hasn’t worked in many years or is not healthy, he or she cannot be expected to be able to find a job or support him or herself soon after the divorce (or at all). If a particular condition exists that requires alimony, you should provide that information to your alimony lawyer as soon as possible.

Living in the Manner to Which You Are Accustomed

You’ve probably heard people say that they want to continue to live the same way when they are divorced as when they were married. While the courts will try to keep you living in the manner to which you are accustomed, be aware that this is not always possible. Divorce can be costly to couples. They now have to support two households on the same income. You may not be able to live as comfortably as you did when you were married.

Both you and your spouse will likely need to make some adjustments to the way you live after a divorce. Remember that the situation is probably only temporary. As time goes on, you will get an increase in wages or find a better job, and you will be earning more than you did when you were married. In the meantime, keep in mind that you may have to modify how you spend your money. It is also important to know that you should always have enough money to support yourself and provide for your most basic living expenses. Your spouse may need to provide alimony to assist in this regard.

Failure to Pay Alimony in North Carolina

Just like child support payments, a spouse may fail to make timely alimony payments or may fall behind. When this happens, it can cause the recipient some considerable financial concerns. Although the party may tell you that payment will occur shortly, it is often a good idea to talk to an alimony attorney as soon as the payments stop. Getting into a confrontation with your former spouse might only make the matter worse and could cause more harm than good.

Legal action may be necessary to ensure prompt payment. Alimony is usually part of a court order and therefore is required by law. The failure to make payments could result in court action. Do not take matters into your own hands. There is no better way to resolve the situation than to seek legal recourse with assistance from an alimony attorney. A judge will order the party to make payments, or further action will be taken.

How Can Wilmington, NC Alimony Lawyers Help Me?

Alimony is certainly not a requirement in every divorce proceeding. Many couples resolve their settlement without the need for alimony payments. Sometimes alimony is necessary and justified. One or the other spouse may need time to be able to become employed. Other times, there might be a need for permanent support. These requirements must be reviewed by an alimony lawyer in order to provide you with advice.

When you are in need of alimony, you should not be afraid to ask for the necessary funds. You don’t need to be strapped for cash while your former spouse continues to live a luxurious lifestyle. Divorce settlements should be fair and equitable, and alimony should be no different. If you need financial support from your spouse, you need to make a request, whether it is for temporary or permanent assistance. Get the help you need from an alimony attorney.

Unfortunately, alimony is one area where couples often disagree. Financial concerns are often in dispute during a divorce and alimony is one of them. Sometimes your alimony lawyers are able to negotiate a resolution with your spouse’s alimony lawyers. If not, your alimony lawyer will assist you in gathering the proof you need to make your case to the judge. When you need alimony help, contact Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division for a consultation to talk about your case.

Ask a Question,
Describe Your Situation,
Request a Consultation

Call (910) 769-7339 or fill out the short form below. We will usually respond within 1 business day but often do so the same day. Don’t hesitate, your questions are welcome.
Main Contact Form
* Required Fields
Your Information Is Safe With Us

We respect your privacy. The information you provide will be used to answer your question or to schedule an appointment if requested.

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

Call (910) 769-7339

Why Choose Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division?

Passion – Our family law attorneys, Justin Moulin and Sarah Gray, are dedicated to helping clients with legal matters involving divorce and family issues in Wilmington, North Carolina. We put clients’ needs first, and we are passionate about helping people through emotionally difficult times.
Experience – When dealing with family legal issues, you need someone with a proven track record. Sarah Gray and Justin Moulin have dedicated their careers to representing families. Sarah has more than 10 years of experience representing clients, while Justin has worked in multiple counties in North Carolina and has focused on custody and child support actions, protective order hearings, alimony claims, property division, and divorce.
Case review – You can have peace of mind when you discuss your needs with us. We will review your circumstances and goals. In this discussion, we can create a plan for you and determine your challenges and opportunities. Fill out our online form to schedule a case evaluation.

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

Call (910) 769-7339

Related Practice Areas

View All Practice Areas

What Our Clients Are Saying

Client Review | Wilmington, NC 28401 | Speaks Family Law
  • I was very pleased with the way that Speaks Family Law handled my case. They worked hard to get the most money that they could. Everyone at the firm was always polite and always answered all of my concerns. I would definitely recommend Speaks Family Law to anyone who needs representation. I always knew that they were there anytime I needed them. A big “Thank you!” goes out to all of the people who are involved with the firm.

    - KE -

  • “She was amazing, she was able to give me the information I needed and was straight forward about what was possible regarding my son. She has made me feel confident in knowing that father’s have just as much legal rights to kids as moms. If I need legal help regarding anything further I will be contacting her again for sure.”

    - D. L. -

  • It was a very helpful experience and I am especially grateful for the way they answered my questions and helped me navigate what would have been a much more difficult situation. I felt that my interests were fought for and taken care of and would hightly recommend anyone who might go through this to be respresented by Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division.

    - S.H. -

View More Testimonials

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

Call (910) 769-7339

Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division is a nationally recognized firm

The National Trial LawyersRated By Super LawyersAvvo Rating 10.0

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

Call (910) 769-7339

Related Blogs And Videos

At Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division, we provide you with multimedia educational resources to help you become informed regarding your Family Law situation. We invite you to explore our library of articles and videos. The better you understand the factors in your case, the more effectively we can work together towards your goals.

Related Blogs

All Blogs

Frequestly Ask Questions

FAQS About Alimony

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.

What You Should Expect in Divorce Court in North Carolina

Wilmington Family Lawyers

Divorce hearings can be scary for anyone. They are even more intimidating if you are getting divorced for the first time. Are you wondering what to expect in divorce court? There is no specific answer. Every case is different and it may present unique challenges and experiences. However, having unclear or unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointments. Ask for help from Wilmington family lawyers. They will help you set your expectations right.

1. What should you expect when going through a divorce?

Divorce can be stressful for anyone. It does not matter how bad your marriage was. Remember that all divorce cases are different. Do not expect to have the same experiences that your friends did. Expect to experience a rollercoaster of emotions including:

  • Excitement
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Anger

2. What should you expect in court?

Divorce court is not as complicated as you may think. Working with your Wilmington family lawyers makes the process simpler. However, you should not expect to stand there while your lawyer does all the work.

You must work with them to get the settlement that matches your expectations. Do not let your fear or anger take over. You must remain calm even when your spouse is lying against you.

Do not expect to “win” in a divorce case. No one really wins in divorce court. Even when dealing with important matters such as alimony, custody, or division of property, you should keep your emotions in check. Note that you won’t always get everything you want.

3. Why should you hire Wilmington family lawyers?

Hiring a lawyer is a good idea even if you are going through a non-contested divorce. Divorce lawyers give you the legal advice you need to get through the difficult period. Like marriage, divorce is a legal process that should be treated professionally.

A divorce lawyer will protect your rights, interpret legal terms, speed up the process, help you initiate conversations with your spouse, and ensure fairness through the process. Hiring a lawyer should not be seen as an act of aggression.

4. How should you prepare kids for divorce?

Even when going through a divorce, you should remember that the children are not getting divorced. You should avoid saying rude or hurtful things to your spouse in their presence. Seek the help of a therapist.

They will help the children process their emotions and get through the process. You should also get co-parenting classes for their sake. The more you fight during a divorce, the more damaging the process can be.

Do not attempt to interfere with the relationship between your children and your spouse unless there is a history of abuse.

If you need the help of Wilmington family lawyers, seek help from Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division. We understand that divorce can be a very personal and sensitive matter. You need the help of good lawyers through the process. We will treat you with respect and high levels of professionalism through the process. Contact us today and book an appointment.

Call today! (910) 769-7339

How Long Does Alimony Last?

Marriage is more than a romantic union; it is also a financial one. Often, one spouse will end up much worse off financially after a divorce, and North Carolina empowers judges to award alimony to one spouse. A Wilmington family lawyer can help you submit a request as part of your divorce.

Alimony is money one spouse pays to his or her ex, typically in monthly installments. Alimony helps ameliorate some of the unfairness of the divorce, often allowing the lower-earning spouse to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

But how long does alimony last? Once upon a time, only women received alimony and they got it for the rest of their life. However, that is no longer the case around the country or in North Carolina specifically. The duration of alimony is set by a judge, and certain life events can also cause alimony to terminate.

Distinguishing Alimony from Post-Separation Support

First, we need to clarify that alimony is not the same as post-separation support, though sometimes people call them the same thing. Post-separation support is money one spouse will pay to the other for until alimony is determined. Once alimony is granted, dismissed, or denied, post separation support ends.

Calculating the Duration of Alimony

A judge has discretion for how long alimony lasts. The judge will look at a variety of factors and can decide to do one of the following:

  • Set an end date
  • Set no end date and have alimony last indefinitely

A judge might set an end date if the marriage was very short, or if the judge wants to give one spouse a certain amount of time to get an education or training so they can be self supporting.

Even if the judge does not include an end date, this does not mean that a person ends up paying alimony forever. Instead, a spouse can always petition the court to increase or decrease alimony payments as circumstances warrant. For example, say a judge orders you to pay alimony to your ex-wife. Over the course of 2 years, she finishes her college degree and get a high-paying job. At this point, she probably does not need alimony, so you can petition a judge to cut off payments at that point.

Events that Terminate Alimony

Alimony will end if the following occurs:

  • The spouse who is paying alimony dies
  • The spouse receiving alimony gets married again
  • The spouse receiving alimony dies
  • The spouse receiving alimony begins cohabitating with boyfriend or girlfriend in marriage-like relationship

If you suspect that an ex has entered a new relationship, meet with an attorney to review your case. You might be able to petition the court to cut off alimony.

Contact Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division Today

A judge has discretion for how long alimony lasts. The judge will look at a variety of factors and can decide to do one of the following:

  • Set an end date
  • Set no end date and have alimony last indefinitely

A judge might set an end date if the marriage was very short, or if the judge wants to give one spouse a certain amount of time to get an education or training so they can be self supporting.

Even if the judge does not include an end date, this does not mean that a person ends up paying alimony forever. Instead, a spouse can always petition the court to increase or decrease alimony payments as circumstances warrant. For example, say a judge orders you to pay alimony to your ex-wife. Over the course of 2 years, she finishes her college degree and get a high-paying job. At this point, she probably does not need alimony, so you can petition a judge to cut off payments at that point.

Call today! (910) 769-7339

View All FAQs

Questions or Schedule An Appointment?

Call (910) 769-7339

Hours of Operations

Open: Mon - Fri: 8:30AM - 5:30PM

We focus on each case like it is our only case. We thrive on finding creative, comprehensive and effective ways to exceed client expectations. We adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct.
© Copyrights 2024. Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division. All Rights Reserved.

This website and the information contained here within is provided by Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division as a service to clients and friends. It is not intended to be a solicitation or to render legal advice. Contained in the website is information about legal issues and legal developments. Content provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. The content is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Use of this website or the information provided by this website, including contacting one of our attorneys, does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm. Prior to the acceptance of a new client or matter, the firm must conduct a search for possible conflicts of interest (already representing another party involved in the matter), and obtain a signed engagement letter. This website should not be used to provide confidential information about a legal matter. This website may provide links to third-party websites. Such linked websites are not under the control of Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division and the firm assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the contents of such websites.

Call Us
Email Us