Alimony

Alimony is payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse, either periodically or in a lump sum, for either a specified or an indefinite term. In order for alimony to come into the scenario, there must be a supporting spouse and a dependent spouse. There is no alimony calculator in North Carolina and, instead, the amount and term can vary greatly and is very fact-specific on what the circumstances deem necessary.

As with Post-Separation Support, this is an area of North Carolina family law where marital misconduct can be considered. When the supporting spouse has committed acts of illicit sexual behavior, a court must award alimony. When the dependent spouse has committed acts of illicit sexual behavior, the court may not award alimony. Finally, if both parties have committed acts of illicit sexual behavior, it is up to the court’s discretion. A key in understanding the above equations is that there still must be a supporting and a dependent spouse.

Alimony can be settled out of court by way of a separation agreement, or submitted through the courts to be heard before a judge. In order to receive alimony, N.C.G.S. § 50-16.3A provides that one must prove:

  1. The parties were lawfully married,
  2. The party seeking alimony is a dependent spouse,
  3. The party from whom he or she is seeking alimony is a supporting spouse, and
  4. An order for alimony is equitable considering each of the following sixteen factors:
    1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses;
    2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
    3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
    4. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others;
    5. The duration of the marriage;
    6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
    7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
    8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
    9. The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
    10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
    11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
    12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
    13. The relative needs of the spouses;
    14. The federal, state, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
    15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper;
    16. The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital or divisible property.

At Rech Law, P.C., we can help you determine if you may be eligible for alimony, or if you may be required to pay alimony, as well as help you understand each of these factors in greater detail.