Qualifying for alimony may be an important part of your North Carolina divorce proceedings. It’s important to understand how to qualify as you pursue your case.
Discuss how alimony may impact your divorce case with a qualified divorce and family law attorney in Charlotte, NC.
What Qualifies a Spouse for Alimony in NC?
To qualify for alimony in North Carolina, a spouse must:
- Be a dependent spouse, with an income disparity, and dependent on the other spouse for maintenance and support.
- Not have committed infidelity during the marriage.
- Prove that an award of alimony is equitable under the factors considered by the court.
- Move the court for an award of alimony.
The court determines the amount and duration of alimony.
What factors does the court consider when it decides alimony in North Carolina?
When deciding whether to award alimony, how much to award and the duration, a North Carolina court must consider these factors:
- Marital misconduct
- Earning and earning capacity of each spouse
- Ages and health of the spouses, including physically, mentally and emotionally
- Earned and unearned income, benefits, insurance, retirement and other resources
- Length of the marriage
- Contribution of a spouse to the education or earning power of the other spouse
- Whether custody of a minor child impacts the ability to work
- Marital standard of living
- Education, and education needed for suitable employment
- Assets and debts
- Property brought to the marriage by either spouse
- Homemaker contributions
- Spousal needs
- Tax implications of a potential award
- Other economic circumstances
- Whether income has already been considered in the division of assets and property
The court can consider these many factors when it determines alimony. To qualify, a spouse must be dependent on the other, and there must be a significant income disparity. The spouse seeking alimony must present evidence, explaining how an award is equitable, considering all relevant factors.
How Long Does Alimony Last in North Carolina?
Alimony in North Carolina may be for a definite or indefinite period. The court may say that alimony continues until a later order modifies it. Alternatively, the court may set a definite period for the award of alimony.
What does being a dependent spouse for alimony in North Carolina mean?
N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A(2) defines a dependent spouse as a spouse who is actually and substantially dependent on the other spouse for maintenance and support. Alternatively, they are a spouse who is substantially in need of financial support from the other spouse.
What is the North Carolina general statute for alimony?
N.C.G.S. § 50-16.3A is the general statute directing the court to award alimony to a dependent spouse. The law provides factors that the court must consider when deciding a request for alimony.
Does North Carolina have lifetime alimony?
North Carolina courts have the discretion to award lifetime alimony. It is typically only awarded in exceptional cases where the recipient has a lifetime need. Sometimes, rather than making a lifetime award, the court will make an indefinite one, allowing the court to reconsider if circumstances change.
Calculating Alimony in North Carolina
North Carolina does not have an official alimony calculator. Each award is at the discretion of the court. There is no formula to weigh all the factors in all circumstances.
However, when you contact Remington & Dixon, a lawyer can evaluate how you qualify for alimony and what the court may award in your case.
Is there a maximum alimony in North Carolina?
There is no maximum amount, except what is equitable given the circumstances in the case.
The maximum in a case depends on the income of the non-dependent spouse, the surplus income of the supporting spouse, and other factors for consideration.
Cheating and Alimony in North Carolina
The North Carolina alimony statute has a lot to say about cheating and infidelity. If either spouse cheats, it greatly impacts an alimony award. The court doesn’t have discretion over the matter — the court may be required to award alimony or prohibited from awarding it, depending on who cheated.
How does cheating affect alimony in NC?
Cheating by either spouse affects alimony in North Carolina. If the dependent spouse cheats, the court may not award alimony. If the supporting spouse cheats, the court must order alimony if the other spouse is found to be dependent. Cheating counts during the marriage, before separation and on the date of separation.
What counts as cheating for alimony in North Carolina?
Cheating for alimony in a North Carolina divorce is determined by N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A(3)a. It is illicit sexual behavior, including acts of sexual or deviant sexual intercourse, sexual acts or acts defined in N.C.G.S. § 14-27.20(4), voluntarily engaged with someone other than the spouse.
How is alimony in NC affected if both parties cheat?
If both parties cheat during the marriage, alimony in North Carolina is at the discretion of the court. The court may consider all the circumstances. If the other spouse condones illicit sexual behavior, then it doesn’t count as cheating.
Talk to a Lawyer About Qualifying for Alimony
Are you wondering how to qualify for alimony? Talk to an attorney at Remington & Dixon, PLLC.
We represent and advocate for the interests of spouses in divorce. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact us online or at 704-247-7110.
Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.