Divorces are complicated and there are a lot of difficult legal issues to navigate. When you and your former partner are going your separate ways, it’s not as easy as cutting ties.
Many couples create alimony agreements. Are you or your former partner eligible for alimony?
If you’re confused about the qualifications for alimony, we’re here to offer a quick rundown of how you can determine your eligibility. Keep reading to learn more.
For there to be alimony payments, there needs to be some kind of income disparity between the two spouses.
In most cases, the judge decides on alimony payments based on how much the receiving partner is able to earn.
Because some marriages have one partner who works and one that stays at home, the judge has to consider how easy it would be for the receiving partner to return to the workforce or make a reasonable amount of money to maintain their quality of life.
In short, if both partners make close to the same amount of money, or if they’re both able to sustain themselves based on their individual income, the judge isn’t likely to award alimony.
Length of Marriage
The system is designed to prevent financial abuse. Because of this, if a couple was only married for a short period, the judge isn’t likely to award alimony.
The “right” length of a marriage is up to the judge’s discretion. The longer the marriage, the better the chance of receiving alimony payments. A marriage that lasts for a year won’t often end with alimony payments, because a judge can assume that both partners are able to sustain themselves outside of their legal union.
Keep in mind that the length of the marriage may also determine how long you receive payments. Alimony isn’t a lifelong guarantee. It’s intended to bridge the gap until the receiving spouse can get on their feet.
Frequently Answered Questions
Can I Modify Alimony?
You can have a judge modify alimony if the situation calls for it. If you or your former spouse has a change in financial circumstances (such as a job loss or an increase in income), the judge can alter the terms of the alimony payments.
Do All States Handle Alimony the Same?
It’s important to talk to a divorce attorney if you plan to receive alimony. Alimony varies state by state, so if you’ve received alimony from a former marriage elsewhere, it doesn’t mean that you’ll qualify in North Carolina.
What If My Former Spouse Dodges Alimony Payments?
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to avoid alimony payments. If the judge has decided that you’re eligible for alimony and you aren’t receiving payments, the court can issue a finding of contempt.
Do You Qualify for Alimony?
Alimony isn’t cut and dry. Judges use their own discretion to determine whether or not alimony payments are appropriate. If you’re worried about whether or not you meet the alimony qualifications, it’s important to talk to an experienced divorce attorney who can advocate for you.
We’re here to help. Reach out to us and schedule a consultation so we can help you navigate your divorce.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.