Understanding Alimony in North Carolina

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “When do you get alimony?”


When two people fall in love and decide to get married, their vision of the future often consists of a life filled with happiness and the enjoyment of each other’s company until old age. While this scenario may play out for some, for many others the reality is that divorce looms on the horizon.


alimony-money-Charlotte-Mooresville-Monroe-Divorce-Lawyer-300x225The reasons a couple may choose to file for divorce are plentiful, and all contribute to North Carolina’s average annual divorce rate of 3.1 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. No matter what reason leads spouses to choose divorce, all potential causes carry the need to discuss what the financial situation of each spouse will look like after the divorce is finalized.


Alimony is the term given for situations in which one person pays a specified amount routinely to an ex-spouse, in order to ensure a certain degree of financial support is maintained after a divorce. North Carolina, like many states, has drafted legislation aimed at guiding residents towards a greater understanding of how alimony is structured in their state.


While North Carolina’s alimony laws are readily available for the public to view, many residents will agree that the process is extremely difficult without the assistance of a qualified divorce attorney. However, by providing some basic information on the process, residents will be better equipped to begin engaging in competent conversation with their legal counsel. The following is some baseline information regarding alimony in North Carolina that all residents should know.


The Different Types of Alimony in North Carolina


According to North Carolina law, alimony can take a few different forms. For example, judges can award what is known as post-separation alimony (also called spousal support), a temporary type of alimony that provides support to dependent spouses during the divorce process.


Alimony is the term given to any required payments made to a dependent spouse after the divorce proceedings have been concluded. Sometimes, alimony can be temporary as the dependent spouse needs time to reestablish a career or obtain education for new job skills. Other times, however, alimony is awarded on a permanent basis, such as when the dependent spouse is disabled and cannot reasonably obtain an income commensurate with their expected lifestyle.


Contributing Factors Courts Consider in Alimony Cases


As previously stated in this article, not every divorce case results in one spouse having to pay alimony to the other. The law in North Carolina specifies certain conditions that must be met in order for a dependent spouse to qualify for alimony payments. For example, the earning potential of each spouse, the mental and physical capabilities of each spouse, and the length of the marriage are all factors a divorce court may consider.


When to Contact an Attorney


While this basic information is sufficient to jump start conversations between clients and their divorce attorney, the real work requires professional guidance. For years, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have been helping spouses in Charlotte and North Carolina navigate the alimony process during a divorce. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today for counsel targeted to your unique situation. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







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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