People don’t think much about alimony these days when it comes to divorces. Decades ago, the “wronged” spouse could get alimony payments based on the other spouse’s misbehavior, such as infidelity or adultery. Alimony in such circumstances often was sought as much as a punitive measure as for any other reason. The advent of no-fault divorce, where no spouse needs to cite a reason for filing for divorce, has pretty much left alimony as a weapon in the dustbin of history. North Carolina, of course, is a no-fault divorce state. All you need to get a divorce in the state now is to live apart for a year with a stated intent to file for divorce and to have lived in the state for six months. Alimony mostly has become an afterthought in modern divorces, when it is a thought at all. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t available or that courts don’t award it in divorces.
What Is Alimony, and Who Can Get It?
Alimony is court-ordered payment to a spouse in a divorce to provide for “support and maintenance.” Payments usually are monthly, for a specified amount. Either party to a divorce can file a motion for alimony, but it can only be awarded to the dependent spouse to be paid by the supporting spouse if the court finds that an award of alimony is equitable under the circumstances.
Some things never change, though, and infidelity during the marriage by either spouse remains a factor in the alimony decision by the court. If the dependent spouse engaged in “illicit sexual behavior” during the marriage, then that spouse is barred from receiving alimony. On the flip side of that coin, if the supporting spouse is found to have committed adultery, then the judge may award alimony to the dependent spouse. In addition to marital misconduct, among the factors that figure into the court’s decision on awarding alimony include:
- The earnings and earning capacity of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living the spouses enjoyed while a couple
- The contributions of a spouse as a homemaker
- The impact on a spouse’s earning power, expenses, or financial obligations as a result of having custody of children from the marriage.
More than a dozen other factors affecting the alimony decision are listed in the statute.
If You Have Alimony Questions, Talk to A Family Law Attorney for Answers
If you find you are getting divorced and believe you might be entitled to alimony, talk to the Charlotte family law attorneys of Remington & Dixon. You can reach us online or by telephone at (704) 247-7110.
How Is Alimony Paid?
State law allows a judge to order monthly or other periodic payments, lump-sum payments, transfer of property, or income withholding to pay alimony.
How Do I Know My Ex-Spouse Will Make the Alimony Payments?
Alimony payments can be secured by a bond, mortgage, deed of trust, or any other form of legal guarantee if the court deems such guarantee necessary.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?
The court can order alimony payments for an indefinite period or for a specified term, with the length of that term based on what the court finds to be appropriate and equitable.
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.