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How does alimony work in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2020 | Family Law |

If you’re divorcing, it’s likely tough on both your emotions and your finances. Your spouse may have been your household’s primary or sole earner. Without their income, you may fear that you will end up without the means to support yourself. And even if you had similar paychecks, you might worry about your divorce’s impact on your lifestyle. But by understanding how alimony works in North Carolina, you can prepare for the economic impact of your split.

North Carolina’s alimony laws

North Carolina has two types of spousal support. The first is post-separation support, which you will receive until your divorce becomes legal. By state law, your separation from your spouse must last at least one year before you can file for divorce. Once your divorce finalizes, you may then receive alimony.

Many states use a formula to determine alimony payments, but North Carolina does not. Rather, your marriage’s circumstances will help determine their length and figure. These factors include:

  • You and your spouse’s lifestyle during your marriage
  • You and your spouse’s individual assets and debts
  • The age and health of you and your spouse
  • The time you need to receive education or training that helps you support yourself
  • The property you and your spouse contributed to your marriage
  • Whether marital misconduct contributed to your divorce

Potential challenges

In some divorces, North Carolina courts will not award alimony at all. You and your spouse may have been married for a short time, and you two may have earned similar incomes. In this case, you might not qualify for support in the state’s eyes. Your odds of receiving alimony improve, though, if you and your spouse had a long marriage where they were the primary breadwinner.

Keep in mind that marital misconduct – specifically illicit sexual behavior – could either increase or eliminate your alimony. If infidelity on your part led to your divorce, you may be barred from receiving support. But if your spouse was unfaithful, their actions may qualify as grounds for greater payment.

No matter the reason for your divorce, it’s important for you to fight for fair alimony payments. An attorney with family law experience can help you take steps toward receiving them.