Spousal Support in North Carolina

Charlotte Alimony and Spousal Support Attorneys

Some people think alimony is a relic of the past; others imagine it is available in every divorce. In North Carolina, the truth is somewhere in between.

North Carolina provides for two types of alimony, also known as spousal support:

  • Post-separation support, which is intended to be temporary, rehabilitative and used to address the immediate needs of a dependent spouse.
  • Alimony, is typically longer in duration and dependent on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, any marital misconduct, and the parties’ needs and earning capacities.
  • Whether post-separation support and/or alimony is awarded, the amount of the award is determined by each spouse’s income, earning ability, and need, as well as the standard of living the couple enjoyed while living together.

Understanding North Carolina Alimony Law

Unlike child support, there are no guidelines to determine the amount of alimony or spousal support in North Carolina. However, a number of factors are written into state law to help the court decide whether alimony should be paid, how much should be awarded, and for how long. These factors are:

  • whether either spouse engaged in marital misconduct
  • each spouse’s earnings and earning capacity
  • the length of the marriage
  • each spouse’s age, physical, mental, and emotional condition
  • the amount and sources of each spouse’s earned and unearned income (including, but not limited to: earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, Social Security)
  • any contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other
  • the extent to which one spouse’s earning power, expenses, or financial obligations will be affected by that spouse’s custody of the children
  • the standard of living the couple established during the marriage
  • the educational level of each spouse, and the time needed for the spouse seeking alimony to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him or her to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs
  • each spouse’s assets and liabilities, and each spouse’s relative debt service requirements, including legal obligations of support
  • the property each spouse brought to the marriage
  • either spouse’s contribution to the marriage as a homemaker
  • the relative needs of the spouses
  • the tax consequences of the alimony award
  • whether either party’s income was considered in dividing the couple’s property, and
  • any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the spouses that the court finds to be just and proper

There is one other important detail about North Carolina alimony: North Carolina law provides that if either spouse has engaged in “illicit sexual behavior” during the marriage, it will affect the alimony award. For example, if a dependent spouse who engaged in such behavior, he or she will likely not receive alimony even if he or she had otherwise been entitled.

Helping Charlotte Families with Alimony Concerns

If you are contemplating divorce or separation, or have been served with a divorce complaint, alimony is probably on your mind. Whether you think you may have to pay, or are concerned you will need alimony payments to get by, Sodoma Law can help. Our divorce attorneys understand that financial worries are one of the most common divorce concerns, and we will work to ensure that you have your questions answered in order for you to work towards a successful life post-divorce.

Because the factors to determine alimony can be difficult to quantify, a spouse concerned about alimony should have an experienced divorce and alimony attorney presenting evidence on his or her behalf. The attorneys at Sodoma Law have a lengthy track record of success securing alimony determinations that meet their clients’ needs. Whether by helping to negotiate an alimony award that makes sense for our clients’ circumstances, or advocating for them in court, we strive to get our clients the financial peace of mind they need.

Sodoma Law helps both prospective alimony payors and recipients in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and throughout western North Carolina. We look forward to answering your alimony questions, and invite you to contact us.



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