North Carolina does not have any state guidelines concerning the amount of spousal support, or alimony, that a dependent spouse can receive after a divorce. This leaves a lot of leeway when dividing assets and setting up spousal support.
When does alimony end?
Alimony may end at a designated future date, or it may end because of a life-changing event. No matter what was decided about the amount or length of alimony payments, state law says that alimony ends as soon as the dependent spouse gets remarried or begins cohabitating with a new love interest. Alimony could also end if the dependent spouse or the paying spouse passes away.
Temporary spousal support
There are many different factors that are considered by a judge when making a decision about alimony payments. The amount of alimony and the length that alimony is paid out will be up to a judge to decide if there was no out-of-court agreement during asset division. If the dependent spouse seems capable of restarting a career after the divorce, the judge may only order temporary alimony payments. Alimony could also be paid in decreasing amounts each month so that the dependent spouse has some time to become self-sufficient.
Sometimes, divorcing spouses will agree on a lump sum alimony payment. Rather than paying alimony each month, a paying spouse will agree to add up the total of expected future alimony payments and write a single check. This arrangement can be less of a headache for the paying spouse, but it could result in an overpayment if the dependent spouse remarries quickly.
Permanent spousal support
In some cases, a judge will see that it is not reasonable to expect a dependent spouse to become self-sufficient after the divorce. The marriage may have lasted for decades, and the dependent spouse may never have received any job training. There is no set end date for permanent spousal support, but it could still be ended by remarriage.