In the State of North Carolina, alimony (or spousal support) refers to payments made by a supporting spouse to a dependent spousefor that spouse’s support and maintenance after divorce. Generally, a spouse who makes less money than the other spouse is considered a dependent spouse. The length of your marriage is likely to play a significant role in whether you will be required to pay spousal support, as well as if your spouse needs support and if you are able to pay it. If you have concerns or questions related to spousal support, an experienced Raleigh divorce lawyer can help.
Your Ability to Pay Spousal Support
In North Carolina, your spouse will not be awarded spousal support unless it is determined that you have the ability to pay. Each case is taken into consideration based on its own relevant facts, and the court has considerable discretion regarding both the amount and the duration of alimony. Nevertheless, the court must take all relevant information into consideration, including your ability to pay spousal support.
Misconduct in Your Marriage
Although North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, marital misconduct can play a significant role in the court’s determinations related to spousal support. Marital misconduct can include:
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
Infidelity is especially important because, if your spouse had an extramarital affair and you were faithful in your marriage, your spouse is likely not eligible for alimony. If, on the other hand, you engaged in an extramarital affair while your spouse remained faithful, North Carolina law will likely require you to pay spousal support.
Additional Contributing Factors
In addition to factoring in marital misconduct, the courts will take other variables into careful consideration, including:
- The length of your marriage
- Your income in relation to your spouse’s
- Your earning capacity in relation to your spouse’s
- Either spouse’s contributions to the education and/or career of the other
It is worth noting that North Carolina has no rule regarding how long a couple must have been married for alimony to apply. Typically, however, a marriage that lasts 10 years or less will involve alimony that lasts no more than half the length of the marriage.
Types of Spousal Support
If you are required to pay spousal support, it will be either rehabilitative or permanent. Rehabilitative alimony is the most common type, and it refers to payments that you make to your ex-spouse until he or she can obtain the education or training necessary to become financially self-sufficient. Alternatively, permanent alimony – generally only awarded after lengthy marriages – refers to payments made for the duration of your spouse’s life (or until he or she remarries).
If You Have Questions Related to Spousal Support, Contact a Knowledgeable Raleigh Divorce Lawyer Today
Alimony is an important consideration in any divorce, and the experienced and committed Raleigh divorce lawyers at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law have the skill, dedication, and knowledge to help protect your rights throughout the divorce process. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (919) 838-7160 today.