In many North Carolina divorces, spousal support is a contentious subject. Whether your find yourself being asked to pay for spousal support or want to request it from your soon-to-be-ex, understanding spousal support laws in NC is vital if you want to obtain the best outcome in your case.
Our Lake Norman spousal support lawyers will work with you to defend your rights during your alimony case. Contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570 to learn more.
Spousal Support in North Carolina: The Basics
Unlike some states, North Carolina does not use a calculator to determine how much alimony a spousal support payor owes a recipient. Instead, the amount of spousal support varies on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of spousal support the recipient receives.
Courts consider a wide range of factors in spousal support disputes, including:
- The length of the marriage and the quality of life established for each spouse during the marriage. That quality of life is used as a bar for spousal support. Marital misconduct, such as adultery, can also play a role in alimony determinations.
- The age, physical, and emotional health of the parties;
- The educational background of both spouses;
- The current employment status of both spouses, or what efforts an unemployed spouse may need to make to achieve gainful employment (such as receiving additional training or education);
- The expenses each spouse can expect to reasonably incur during or after the divorce (depending on the type of alimony awarded);
- How the parties intend to distribute marital and nonmarital properties during the divorce;
- How the parties arrange to split custody of the children, if they have any;
- Whether any marital misconduct has impacted the parties financially, and if so, how;
- How each party's tax burden could be impacted by the alimony arrangement;
- Whether either party has a previously existing spousal or child support obligation from a previous marriage or relationship;
- Any other factors the court considers relevant to the case.
The court will assess these factors, as well as the circumstances of the divorce, to decide what kind of spousal support (and in what amount) is appropriate for the parties.
Types of Spousal Support in North Carolina
In North Carolina, parties can receive the following kinds of alimony:
- Periodic. Periodic alimony is set to last for a set amount of time, typically expiring on the remarriage of the recipient. Additionally, periodic alimony arrangements can have other terminable conditions, such as ending should the recipient find employment that enables them to achieve the quality of life experienced during the marriage without the help of spousal support. Periodic alimony arrangements are regularly reviewed by the court and terminated as necessary.
- Lump-sum. In a lump-sum alimony arrangement, the payor supplies a finite amount of alimony, either in a single lump-sum payment or over several installments. Lump-sum alimony arrangements are usually not modified upon being issued unless the recipient passes away.
- Reimbursement. If one party paid for contributions to the other's life and expected those payments to contribute to the financial health of the marriage, but the divorce occurred before that could happen, they may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony. A common example would include a spouse paying for their partner's continuing education efforts under the assumption their spouse would receive more profitable employment, but failing to see the outcome of their investment due to divorce. It is often paid in a finite amount, either in a one-time payment or across several installments.
- Rehabilitative. Rehabilitative alimony is often the most flexible type of alimony arrangement in many situations. It often is designed to last until the recipient can become self-supporting, and may be terminable on conditions such as the recipient obtaining gainful employment.
- Separate. Separate alimony is designed for individuals involved in separation agreements. Should the individuals finalize their divorce or begin cohabitating again, the alimony will be terminated.
At Blood Law, PLLC, our Lake Norman spousal support attorneys will work with you to seek the best possible outcome in your alimony case. To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our services, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
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