Alimony in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

3Alimony in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

When couples divorce in North Carolina, they must split their assets and liabilities 50/50. In most cases, each party is able to continue their career and can live the same way they were used to during their marriage. However, in some instances, one spouse may be required to provide alimony, also called spousal support, to the other. These payments may be made in regular payments or sometimes in a lump sum.


What is the Purpose of Alimony?

Alimony is designed to provide a spouse with money to ensure that they are able to maintain the same standard of living that was established during the marriage. Generally, the spouse who pays alimony is the one who is the higher paid and often the one who was the main supporter during the marriage. Spousal support is meant to help even out the imbalances of the financial situation of partners when they end their marriage.


Arnold & Smith, PLLC managing member Matt Arnold fills you in on what you need to know about Alimony in North Carolina.


What Factors Determine Alimony?

The judge will review a number of factors when they determine if alimony is appropriate and, if so, the amount that should be paid. Some of the many factors the judge may consider include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial need
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Earning capacity of each party
  • Age and health of each party
  • Contribution to the marriage
  • Ability to pay
  • Marital misconduct


Alimony may be most appropriate when couples have been married a long time and when one of them was the primary bread-winner while the other was a stay-at-home parent. The judge will look at many things, such as whether a spouse can go back into the workforce and if so, what will be their earning potential.



How Marital Misconduct Impacts Alimony

Marital misconduct is behavior that is considered contrary to the marriage. The most common type of marital misconduct is adultery. Other types of misconduct can include such things as excessive drug or alcohol use or abuse, abandonment, domestic violence or cruelty, and financial misconduct. Although marital misconduct cannot be used in the distribution of assets in a divorce, this type of behavior can and does have an impact on alimony. For example, if a spouse hid money or improperly squandered resources during the marriage, the other party may be entitled to compensation through spousal support.


When Does Alimony End?

The judge will order the type, length, and amount of spousal support that one spouse must pay the other. These payments continue based on the court order. Temporary support may be provided for a short period of time while a spouse prepares to re-enter the job market. For permanent alimony, the judge may set the length of payments, which is often half the length of the marriage. If alimony is permanent, it continues until one party passes away. If a spouse who receives alimony remarries, the payments may end.


If you are going through a divorce, you may be entitled to alimony. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a consultation with our experienced legal team.





The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two 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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