Providing Guidance For Alimony And Post-Separation Support
North Carolina provides that in certain situations one spouse may be entitled to alimony and/or post-separation support. The court may set the support amount as a “lump sum” or as continued payments over time.
Alimony is paid by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. Generally, one spouse is considered dependent if they make less money than the other. There is not one general rule but the court will consider many factors.
Factors That Determine Support
North Carolina considers 16 factors in its determination of whether support should be awarded. The law (§ 50-16.3A) outlines the following indicators:
- The marital misconduct of either of the spouses;
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the spouses;
- The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other spouse;
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
- The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
- The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
- The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
- The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- The relative needs of the spouses;
- The federal, state, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
- Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper; and
- The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital or divisible property.
How Much Will The Supporting Spouse Pay?
As you can see above, the court will consider many factors in making its determination. As an experienced attorney, Joshua Nielsen can help you manage your expectation as either a dependent or supporting spouse, and we can help create a strategy and plan tailored to your case.
When Am I Entitled To Post-Separation Support?
This is a good question. Post-separation support can be awarded at many different stages of the separation or divorce process. If you find yourself a dependent spouse you may receive post-separation support in the following situations:
- An action for divorce from bed and board;
- After separation; and
- Anytime before the divorce decree is entered.
What Is Post-Separation Support Supposed To Pay For?
The court will award post-separation support for a dependent spouse to meet his or her reasonable needs. The court will consider the following in determining post-separation support:
- Financial needs of both parties;
- The accustomed standard of living;
- The present employment income of each party;
- The parties’ income-earning abilities;
- The separate marital debt obligations of each party;
- The reasonably necessary expenses to support each party; and
- Each party’s legal obligations to support other persons, such as children.
Here When You Need Us
If your particular case involves financial dependency, or if you have a spouse who may be looking for Alimony or Post Separation Support you need to speak with an experienced family law lawyer who can answer difficult questions and help create a strategy that will fit your case.