When it comes to divorce, one of the most contentious issues to resolve is often alimony. And while the rate of divorce is declining in North Carolina, the issue of alimony is still one of most impactful decisions a family law judge will make. Alimony is a court order requiring one spouse to financially support another. This can be in the form of ongoing alimony payments or even a lump sum amount at the time of the divorce.
The judge will consider several factors but has a great deal of latitude in determining alimony. The importance of making your case to the judge is one reason why hiring an experienced Raleigh Alimony lawyer is so important.
Dependent vs. Supporting Spouse
An award of alimony in North Carolina family law cases is fairly rare. To be eligible to receive an alimony award, the court must declare that you are a dependent spouse that relies on the income of your supporting spouse. Generally speaking, if both spouses work and make similar salaries, the courts won’t consider either spouse dependent. But if one spouse doesn’t work, or if there is an enormous income gap between the two spouses, the court may determine one spouse is dependent on another.
The Effect of Infidelity on an Alimony Award
Infidelity can play a role in the alimony process, even when the court determines that one spouse is dependent on another. Under North Carolina law, alimony is unavailable for a dependent spouse engaged in illicit sexual behavior while married or before separation. In the alternative, a supporting spouse that might otherwise not be required to pay alimony could be forced to pay. It is up to the court’s discretion to sort out alimony if both spouses were unfaithful.
Infidelity is not the only form of spousal misconduct that can affect an alimony award. If the supporting spouse was abusive or abandoned the dependent spouse, the judge could increase the amount of alimony or award it in a case where it otherwise would not be warranted.
How an Experienced Raleigh Alimony Lawyer can Help
Because of the leeway given North Carolina judges in determining alimony, the attorney you select to represent you can have a significant impact on whether alimony is ordered in your case. If you are seeking alimony or defending against an alimony request, the experienced attorneys at Daphne Edwards Divorce and Family Law, PC may be able to help.
For more information please visit our site.