Dealing with alimony

When people divorce in North Carolina, alimony or spousal support may be an issue. In many cases, one spouse will be ordered to make monthly alimony payments to the other, and these payments may be ordered on either a time-limited or an indefinite basis.

Courts consider a number of factors when determining whether to order spousal support in a particular case. These factors may include such things as the length of the marriage, the total gross income of each spouse, whether a nonworking spouse has the education and background needed to enter the workforce and the age of the parties. When the marriage has been a long one and there is a large disparity between the incomes of the two spouses, alimony may be likely to be ordered.

People have a couple of options when they believe they are going to be required to pay alimony. They can try to negotiate an agreed-upon monthly amount with a specified duration. They might also be able to offer to buy out the other spouse’s potential right to alimony payments in order to prevent having to make continuous monthly payments. Some spouses who stand to receive alimony also choose to forgo it because of their beliefs in self-sufficiency or simply the desire to cut all ties.

When spousal maintenance is set and ordered by the court, the paying spouse will be required to pay the amount each month exactly as ordered. If their financial situation later changes in a substantial way, they may want to see a family law attorney. Through their attorney, the paying spouse can seek to modify the ordered amount to one that is more affordable. The spouse may also file such a request if their former spouse’s financial situation has changed to a degree that they no longer need the payments.