Alimony FAQ

4-300x225Alimony FAQ

When you and your spouse divorce, one partner may need to pay money to the other for living costs and other expenses. The word alimony originates from the Latin word “alimonia” which means sustenance or nourishment. In North Carolina, alimony is also called spousal support. When couples divorce, alimony may or may not be appropriate. There are many questions people have regarding spousal support. An experienced North Carolina divorce attorney will help you through the process and answer your questions about alimony.


What are the Different Kinds of Alimony?

There are different kinds of spousal support based on the specific needs of the parties. To obtain alimony, you must first submit a request, and you must substantiate it. The judge will make an ultimate decision.


  • Temporary support
  • Post-separation support
  • Permanent support
  • Lump sum support


Post-separation support is money that is provided temporarily until the divorce is completed. Temporary support gives money to one party for a specific length of time. Sometimes temporary support may be needed while a spouse prepares to re-enter the workplace. Permanent support is most common when a spouse does not have an income source or when the parties have been married for a long time. Most support is made in regular payments, but lump sum support is a one-time payment.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How can an attorney help me with my Divorce or Separation in North Carolina?”


How Much Alimony Will I Need to Pay?

Several factors will help determine the type and amount of alimony to pay. The factors that a judge reviews include the income of each party, the age and health of both spouses, the length of the marriage, the standard of living that the couple enjoyed during the marriage, the education and earning capacity of each person, assets and liabilities of the couple, and more. Marital misconduct may also be a factor that is used to determine spousal support.

Spouses may agree to alimony, but the judge still has the final decision on whether alimony should be paid and, if so, the type and amount.



What is a Waiver of Alimony?

A waiver of alimony is a document that allows a spouse to waive their right to spousal support. This may occur in an amicable divorce in which the couple had previously agreed to support, such as in a prenuptial agreement. In order to legally waive alimony, the document must include specific details of support and must be signed by both parties and notarized.


When Does Alimony End?

In general, permanent alimony ends when either party passes away. It also ends when the person receiving the alimony cohabitates with a new partner. Another situation when alimony ends is if the divorced spouses get back together as a couple. In some cases, it may be possible to modify alimony. This can only be done through the courts. You must submit a request to the court for review. Modification may be possible only in instances where there are substantial changes, such as loss of employment.


Spousal support is not always part of a divorce order. To learn more about alimony and divorce settlement terms, call our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your case. Now taking cases in South Carolina! You can find additional resources here.






The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.




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