It is not unusual for you to earn more or less than your spouse while married. After all, in many households in North Carolina, one spouse is the primary breadwinner. However, if you were the lesser-earning spouse and you divorce, you may have concerns about how you will support yourself financially. Alimony laws exist to address this situation.
What is alimony and who receives it?
Alimony payments are periodic payments the higher earning spouse pays to the lower earning spouse following a divorce. The “dependent spouse” is the one receiving these payments and the “supporting spouse” is the one making these payments. Gender does not play a role in who will be the “dependent” or “supporting” spouse.
How much alimony will be paid?
North Carolina law does not provide specific methods for calculating alimony. Instead, courts will consider a variety of factors when determining how much alimony to award. Some of these factors include:
- Each spouse’s age
- Each spouse’s education
- Each spouse’s health
- How long the marriage lasted
- Each spouse’s assets
- What each spouse contributed to the marriage, and
- Whether marital misconduct is an issue
These are only some examples of factors a judge will consider when awarding alimony.
How long will I receive alimony?
North Carolina law does not set guidelines for how long an award of alimony must last. The length of alimony awarded is decided on a case-by-case basis. However, if the dependent spouse remarries, resides with a new romantic partner, or passes away, the supporting spouse does not need to continue paying alimony.
Know the facts on alimony in North Carolina
It is important that you understand the facts on alimony in North Carolina. This is true whether you are the dependent spouse or supporting spouse. Knowing what to expect can help you make plans for your financial future post-divorce.