NC: Alimony & Spousal Support

Alimony is payable by a “supporting spouse” to a “dependent spouse” and may be payable until remarriage, death, cohabitation, or for a specified period. Whether spousal support will be paid, how much will be payable, and for how long it will be paid are typically contentious issues. Alimony is the term used for the support after divorce.  Post separation support is paid prior to alimony and during the pendency (between separation and divorce).

Some questions that may be taken into consideration when calculating spousal support or alimony include:

  • How long was the marriage?
  • How much does each spouse earn?
  • What expenses does each spouse have?
  • What are the spouses’ educational and professional backgrounds?
  • Do both spouses have a history of working outside the home?
  • What type of lifestyle did the spouses enjoy during the marriage?
  • Does one spouse need additional education or vocational training to enter the workforce?
  • Did one spouse commit a marital fault, such as an extramarital affair or abuse?
  • Did one spouse waste marital assets, resulting in fewer assets for the spouses to share after the divorce?

Answers to these and other questions can have a tremendous impact on a judge’s decision about whether to order post-separation support or alimony in a specific case, so it is important to speak to an experienced North Carolina attorney.