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Alimony In NC

Is There Alimony In North Carolina?

Alimony is recognized in most states, and North Carolina is among them. Our state recognizes that Alimony can be completely vital to dependent spouses in specific situations. That is why NC Judges look at a large variety of factors, which are listed below, to determine if:

  • Alimony is appropriate.
  • How much money will be given to the dependent spouse.
  • How long the supporting spouse will have to pay the Alimony amount.

How Many Years Do You Have To Be Married To Get Spousal Support?

The duration of your marriage is only one of a variety of factors contributing to Alimony payments. More broadly, Alimony is based on the individual Judge's assessment of the case based on the factors listed below. Every Judge will have their own viewpoint on what is and isn't reasonable when it comes to Alimony, and will decide differently based on that.

He's able to do that because there are no specific legal precedents regarding Alimony. You can get a reasonably good prediction of how your case might be decided by consulting with an Attorney who's represented an Alimony case before your specific Judge previously.

How Do You Figure Out Alimony?

As stated before, there are no legal precedents when it comes to Alimony in NC. This means that Judges have nothing else to go on besides their own best judgment of appropriateness after weighing the factors below. That's because no two Alimony cases are exactly the same. So, Judges come to their decision by looking at these factors:

  • The earnings of each spouse.
  • Each spouse's physical, mental, & emotional condition.
  • The marriage duration.
  • The standard of living during the marriage.
  • Contributions by one spouse to the other spouses earning potential.
  • The self-sufficiency of each spouse.

Additionally, if the dependent spouse engages in "illicit sexual behavior" during the marriage or after separation, no alimony will be awarded. If the same is true for the supporting spouse - alimony is automatically awarded to the dependent spouse.

Of course, always defer to an Attorney for this sort of information, but here's an NC Alimony Calculator to give you a rough estimate of what you could pay.

Can You Get Alimony After A Divorce?

Because Alimony is a part of the divorce settlement itself, you cannot file for it after you're already divorced. That's because it determines what is required financially from the supporting spouse. As long as your Alimony claim was submitted and pending prior to the divorce settlement, you can still be awarded it after the divorce.

Alimony Settlement

Alimony represents a payment of support and maintenance paid by the supporting spouse to the dependent spouse. This support can be periodic or a lump sum payment. It can be paid for a specific or indefinite period of time. Alimony can be part of a separation and property settlement agreement, a consent order, or a court order after a trial. The court will consider marital misconduct when evaluating an alimony claim. The court will order alimony for the dependent spouse if the court determines that that the supporting spouse committed an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to separation. On the contrary, the court will bar an alimony claim if the dependent spouse committed such acts prior to the date of separation. If both spouses committed acts of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and prior to the date of separation, an award of alimony will be in the judge’s discretion.

Also, keep in mind that if you have not secured alimony in a properly executed separation and property settlement agreement prior to the absolute divorce, you must properly file your alimony claim prior to the final divorce being granted or you waive your right to alimony.

Termination & Cohabitation

If a court determines that a dependent spouse receiving alimony pursuant to a court order is cohabiting, alimony terminates. The same is true if “cohabitation” is a terminating event for alimony in a separation and property settlement agreement. The North Carolina statutes define cohabitation as the act of two adults dwelling together continuously and habitually in a private, heterosexual or homosexual relationship, even if not married. Cohabitation is also evidenced by the voluntary mutual assumption of those marital rights, duties and obligations which are usually manifested by married persons, and which include, but are not necessarily dependent on, sexual relations.

The court considers many factors when determining whether one is cohabiting. These factors include the number of overnights spent together, whether it is a monogamous sexual relationship, whether the dependent spouse and third party have a key to other’s residence, whether there is a sharing of living expenses, whether they attend family functions together, and whether they drive each other’s vehicles. In essence, the court looks at whether the spouse and the third party hold themselves out to the public like married persons.

Also, cohabitation with a spouse in which you are separated from, but not divorced, can affect your eligibility for a divorce. Talk with an attorney at Warren & Warren, P.A. to learn more about how cohabitation can affect alimony.