What Is Alimony?
In North Carolina, either of the parties are able to file for alimony. Alimony or spousal support is a way for both parties to be financially sufficient while transitioning out of the marriage. In court, alimony is typically given to those who have proven to be dependent on their spouse, or has proven that their spouse is the main supporter of the household. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum for a certain amount of time period, or periodically over an amount of time. In North Carolina there are no guidelines or formulas used to calculate alimony. In these cases, the judge has the right to decide based upon the circumstances and facts of the case what should be awarded or denied.
Some things a judge may look for when deciding on alimony is both parties’ income, age, length of marriage, personal needs, and marital misconduct. Marital misconduct can refer to many things. Some things that may be considered marital misconduct and can affect your alimony payments are:
- Illicit sexual behavior; voluntary sexual acts with someone other than your spouse.
- Abandonment of your spouse.
- Cruel or barbarous treatment of your spouse.
- Reckless spending of income or wasting or concealing assets.
- Excessive use of drugs or alcohol.
The Alimony Order:
A judge is able to set the amount and the duration of alimony payments. A common situation today is where one spouse puts their career, education, etc. on hold to care for children or the household. The court will look into things such as the contribution of a spouse to the household, length of the marriage, marital property, marital assets and debts, etc. It is important to note that if you do not file for spousal support before the absolute divorce is final, you will forever lose the right to ask the court for spousal support.
Modification of Order:
The court is able to terminate an order of alimony if the parties decided to resume marital relations. If you are considered to be the dependent spouse, you should be aware that if you remarry, or decide to live with someone else in the same manner as if you were married, those actions may terminate your alimony.