Payne & Associates, PLLC

Getting divorced can seem like a journey into the great unknown. A combination of legal complexity and social stigmas imbue separations with an air of uncertainty, so it's critical to educate yourself. Here's everything that you should know about how alimony works in North Carolina. 

What is alimony?

Alimony is also known as spousal support. These payments from one spouse or ex-spouse to their former partner are designed to help them maintain the same standards of living that they enjoyed before their divorce.

Why is alimony so important to modern divorce law? If you relied on your spouse for income before you separated, then splitting up might suddenly leave you without the means to take care of yourself. It could also jeopardize your children's futures.

Instead of forcing divorcees to burden services like welfare or unemployment programs, lawmakers use alimony regulations to minimize the amount of disruption that society has to bear when relationships fail. The rules also make allowances for enforcing alimony decrees against individuals who don't want to pay. For instance, the authorities may garnish someone's wages to ensure compliance.

Post-separation support vs. alimony

North Carolina law defines different forms of spousal support payments. Alimony is paid following a divorce's finalization, and post-separation support is given during the divorce process. Both forms may be necessary to minimize the disruption that some relationship changes can cause.

How do courts make alimony award determinations?

North Carolina courts use a range of factors to decide who's eligible to receive spousal support payments from their exes, including

  • Whether either spouse had sex with someone else, which may disqualify them
  • How much each person earns and how the divorce will change their lives
  • The spouses' physical, mental, emotional and other conditions
  • The length and nature of the marriage and the standard of living the couple shared
  • How the divorce will impact dependent children
  • How each spouse contributed to the family's economic standing during the marriage, including the property they owned before the union

What defines alimony amounts?

Courts use the previous rubrics and others to decide how much spousal support someone should receive. They also consider particulars like the nature of each person's assets. For instance, someone might have to transfer property titles or make periodic payments to support their ex-spouse.

It's important to understand that there's no universal alimony formula or guideline. Family courts have ample discretion to decide how to calculate individual awards. No matter whether you're seeking support or paying it, retaining the services of an attorney that can help you build your case is a wise move.

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
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