In every North Carolina household, people can hold individual roles. Some are breadwinners, and others may be caregivers. When working together, they manage to build comfortable, sustainable lives. Unfortunately, when these households are broken up during a divorce, the division of income isn’t always fair. Alimony payments exist to address this very problem. With a trusted Charlotte, NC alimony lawyer, you can continue to enjoy the quality of life you’ve grown accustomed to. As an experienced family law firm in Charlotte, Remington & Dixon PLLC works hard to ensure that divorcing a spouse doesn’t lead to dramatic decreases in overall quality of life.
Why Seeking Alimony Is Often a Wise Choice
Alimony payments aren’t for everyone. If you and your spouse shared equal duties as breadwinners and were able to establish stable careers with comparable income, you may be content to simply divide up the wealth you’ve amassed and be on your way. More often than not, however, one spouse spends a more significant portion of their time taking care of general household duties. These might include:
- Birthing and raising children
- Cooking and cleaning
- Choosing, decorating, and caring for the home
For homemakers, these duties rarely come with a livable wage. They are simply done out of loyalty to the marriage and out of an earnest desire to contribute to the development of a happy home life. Unfortunately, taking care of these responsibilities eliminates the time, opportunity, and energy to:
- Engage in higher learning
- Obtain professional certificates or degrees
- Build an impressive resume or CV
- Establish a solid professional network
If you were the homemaker in your Charlotte household, divorcing could leave you facing the long, challenging road of having to develop desirable professional skills, find an employer who’s willing to overlook major gaps in your resume, and adapt to an entirely new lifestyle and standard of living. In these instances, working with a trusted Charlotte, NC alimony lawyer is the best choice. Legal provisions have been made for divorcing couples to account for disparate incomes and the unpaid duties of homemakers or low-wage earners.
Although your partner may have paid a seemingly unfair portion of the bills, you likely contributed an equally unfair amount of your time handling responsibilities that don’t come with a salary. Moreover, without your contributions, the breadwinner of your home is unlikely to have achieved their stellar professional accomplishments. If you’re unsure of whether alimony is right for your circumstances, get in touch with Remington & Dixon PLLC today for a consultation.
Common Arguments Against Alimony and Why They Don’t Work
In certain instances, there are valid arguments against paying alimony. For example, alimony payments might not apply to your divorce if you:
- Earned more than your partner
- Earned an equivalent amount of income
- Were only married for a very short period of time
However, when one person spent a disproportionate amount of time caring for the family and home and earned lower wages or no wages as a result, certain arguments just won’t stick in divorce court. These relate to gender equity, length of the marriage, and individual effort invested as a breadwinner.
Decades ago, alimony was generally awarded to divorcing women who spent much of their married lives as homemakers. One common argument against alimony relates to claims of increasing gender equity. In modern times, any person can act as breadwinner, and a person of any gender can be a primary caregiver. Disparity between wages across genders has also decreased.
However, in a Charlotte court of law, claiming that a spouse is not entitled to alimony due to increases in gender equity is an ineffective tactic. Even with more genders being recognized as valid and gender-based roles evolving, judges still base their decisions on individual investments of time and the rewards these investments have produced. Alimony exists to ensure that each person is fairly rewarded for what they’ve contributed throughout the marriage and not based upon societal perceptions or current gender norms. Marriage has evolved to look quite different than it did some time ago, but the purpose and intent of alimony remain the same. Alimony can apply in same-sex marriages and in marriages between two parties with non-specific genders.
Length of Marriage
The duration of a marriage will always have a significant impact on whether or not alimony is awarded in Charlotte, North Carolina, and how much recipients ultimately receive. However, each divorce and circumstance is different. If you and your partner were only married for just two years, and if the unpaid contributions that you made to your household during this time have:
- Left you unable to pay your basic living costs without your partner’s support
- Left you unable to enjoy the same standard of living that you’ve become accustomed to
You may still be qualified to receive a short-term alimony order or a limited amount of post-separation support. By scheduling a consultation appointment with Remington & Dixon PLLC, you can find out if the length and conditions of your marriage qualify you for alimony. We’ll review your case and help you determine the best course of action.
Individual Effort Invested as Breadwinner
Your spouse may make the case that they worked tirelessly to “keep a roof over your head.” No matter how hard a breadwinner has worked, the unpaid contributions of the other party matter. When determining alimony orders, judges don’t just consider the time and effort that each person invests in creating combined wealth and well-being. They also account for the hardships that breadwinners may have created throughout this time. For instance, if your spouse:
- Committed adultery
- Locked you out of the shared family home and did not allow you to return
- Engaged in dangerous behaviors that put you or your children in harm’s way
- Refused to provide reasonable materials support when necessary
- Committed a crime that resulted in your separation
- Abused drugs or alcohol and created intolerable living conditions as a result
- Engaged in reckless spending
- Hid assets
- Destroyed assets
All of these actions impact the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of marital partners. They also, directly and indirectly, impact their financial well-being and quality of life. They are referred to as marital misconduct.
Emotional Manipulation and Alimony
One of the most important and most commonly overlooked factors in alimony cases is self-esteem. Breadwinners generally feel very good about themselves. They have a lot to show for the time they’ve contributed to their professional careers. In addition to promotions and other professional accolades, breadwinners can amass a number of tangible assets on their own. Clean homes are dirtied, meals are consumed, and children grow up and move away. Comparatively, homemakers produce accomplishments that often disappear or are systematically undone. Although they can certainly look at their accomplishments with pride, even the very process of considering personal assets during a divorce can deliver a tremendous blow to a homemaker’s self-confidence.
Breadwinners sometimes attempt to capitalize on visibly low self-esteem by using emotional manipulation. They may try to convince their partners to either not pursue alimony or to settle for far less than they’re worth. Striking an agreement with your ex before consulting with a Charlotte, NC alimony lawyer could leave you with the short end of the stick. If your spouse has approached you with an offer already, call Remington & Dixon PLLC before responding. We’ll ensure that your contributions throughout the marriage are properly evaluated and that no aspect of your partner’s wealth is overlooked. You have a right to reap the rewards of all the wealth you’ve directly or indirectly helped build.
Why Working With a Charlotte, NC Alimony Lawyer Is Far Better Than Representing Yourself
When people have assets to protect in divorce, they rarely attempt to represent themselves. They know that getting good legal representation is the surest way to obtain optimal outcomes. Even if your spouse is amicable, easy to communicate with, and willing to discuss alimony payments on your own, securing your divorce attorney is essential. You don’t want to discover that an incredibly competent attorney is handling your “amicable” divorce that your partner has hired if you have no attorney of your own. Hiring a lawyer is always the wisest decision whenever there are significant, shared assets that must be divided. Moreover, even if the other party currently has no legal representation, seeking alimony could be the catalyst that drives this person to seek legal help.
What a Charlotte, NC Alimony Lawyer Can Do for You
At Remington & Dixon PLLC, we can help you understand the nuances of Charlotte, NC, alimony law. We can assess your case, help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim to alimony, and assist you in getting the alimony order you deserve. Best of all, if your divorce is a tumultuous one, we can handle all communication for you. We’ll:
- Look for income and assets that your partner may be hiding
- Determine whether your spouse engaged in behaviors that diminished your financial well-being and life-quality
- Assign a fair monetary value to your daily contributions over time
- Determine the losses that you sustained due to your role as homemaker and primary caregiver
- Help you prove your case as a dependent spouse
Common Questions About Alimony in Charlotte, NC
What’s the difference between alimony and post-separation support in Charlotte, NC?
Post-separation support is paid out while an alimony case is being reviewed by the court. This temporary support ceases whenever alimony is granted, alimony is denied, or the post-separation support order expires. Conversely, alimony is permanent/semi-permanent, and it is paid indefinitely until the death of either spouse or until the alimony order expires.
Which factors are considered when calculating alimony?
Alimony amounts are awarded in Charlotte, NC, based upon the length of the marriage, the standard of living throughout the marriage, evidence of marital misconduct, and property and assets acquired. Other factors, including the disabilities of either party, each person’s age, the mental and physical health of each party, and individual earning abilities, are accounted for as well.
Are alimony and child support the same?
If you have minor children to take care of, you will need to seek separate alimony and child support orders. Alimony payments are not intended to account for the costs of raising minor children to adulthood. Unlike alimony payments, child support orders have a definite end date based upon the time at which named dependents come of age or become capable of supporting themselves.
You don’t have to wage your fight for alimony on your own. With Remington & Dixon PLLC, you can prove to the court that you’re a dependent spouse, and you can obtain an order that helps you maintain your known standard of living. Call us today to meet with one of our attorneys.