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 Family Law for a consultation to talk about your case.

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