How is alimony awarded in North Carolina?

During your marriage, your spouse may have been your household’s primary earner. As you two prepare for divorce, you will likely worry about making ends meet without their income. Yet, North Carolina’s alimony laws can help you keep up an adequate standard of living afterward. By understanding these laws, you can start preparing for your divorce’s financial impact.

Potential factors

Alimony is not part of every divorce in North Carolina. You and your spouse may have earned similar incomes. Or, your marriage may have been short. In these cases, you might not receive it. And you may find yourself barred from alimony altogether if your marriage ended due to illicit sexual behavior on your part. This behavior refers to any extramarital affairs you conducted.

Yet, you will likely receive alimony so long as you can prove you have the need for it. North Carolina law allows for alimony if you are substantially dependent on your spouse. In this case, you would need alimony payments to meet your basic needs. The state also allows alimony if you are substantially in need of support. In this case, you would need alimony payments to maintain the lifestyle you kept during your marriage. Furthermore, your marriage may have ended due to your spouse’s illicit sexual behavior. In this case, the amount and length of alimony you receive will likely increase.

The sum and duration of alimony you will receive depends on many factors. These include:

  • The length of your marriage
  • Whether child custody duties will impact your ability to work
  • Whether you or your spouse committed marital misconduct
  • You and your spouse’s assets and liabilities
  • You and your spouse’s earning abilities
  • You and your spouse’s incomes
  • You and your spouse’s shared standard of living

Receiving support

In North Carolina, you and your spouse will need to remain separated for at least one year before you can divorce. Your spouse may have to pay you postseparation support during this period. You will receive this support if you need their help maintaining the standard of living you established during your marriage. Your spouse may also need to provide it if they paid for certain expenses while you were together. Once you finalize your divorce, your spouse will then begin alimony payments to you.

Understanding how alimony works in North Carolina may ease your fears about making ends meet after your divorce. An attorney with family law experience can help you fight for fair support.

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