One of the top concerns divorcing couples face is how they will support themselves financially during and after divorce proceedings. Many times, one spouse is the primary breadwinner while the other remains at home raising children or working a lower-paying job.
You may benefit from a consultation with a Cary alimony lawyer if you are facing a divorce and wondering how alimony laws may apply to your situation. An experienced alimony lawyer could help you by explaining North Carolina alimony statutes, reviewing financial statements, calculating alimony payments, drafting proposed separation agreements, and providing representation in court.
Alimony is simply a financial payment from one spouse to the other for temporary or periodic support. Either spouse can request alimony and the court may award alimony when it determines one spouse is dependent on the other for support and the other spouse has the ability to pay support. Generally, these payments may be made monthly for a finite period or in a single lump sum.
Courts have great discretion when awarding alimony amounts and determining duration. For example, a significant award may be granted in a long-term marriage with a high standard of living where one spouse stayed home to raise children. In contrast, there may be no award in a short-term marriage where both spouses worked and had no children.
If the parties can agree on the amount and duration of an alimony award, they may draft a separation agreement. The agreement sets out the terms of the alimony award. Such a separation agreement may be incorporated into a divorce judgment and may be subject to North Carolina law regarding termination or modification of alimony..
If the parties cannot agree on alimony terms, a court may make the determination for them. Judges consider several factors when determining an alimony award:
There are two types of alimony awards. Post-separation, also called temporary alimony, lasts only during a divorce is finalized. This type of alimony is meant to assist the lower-earning spouse to meet the expense of day-to-day needs.
The second type of alimony is awarded for the post-divorce period. Post-divorce alimony may be awarded for a specific period of time so the recipient spouse can receive job training or education in order to become self-supporting. In cases of long-term marriages, alimony may be permanent if the recipient spouse has retired or is too ill to be expected to enter the workforce.
If the parties cannot agree on the amount and duration of an alimony award, they may file for alimony prior to divorce proceedings. The requesting party may file an affidavit, verified pleading, or some other evidence to help the court base its decision.
The court is required to state the reasons for an award or denial of alimony. Specific reasons for the term of the award, the amount, and the method of payment are usually set forth in the court’s ruling.
Any spouse who has been supported by their partner during a marriage may be eligible for alimony. However, the dependent spouse must be substantially financially dependent on the other spouse for basic needs and maintenance.
To find that one spouse is dependent upon the other, the court considers the standard of living during the marriage as well as the needs of the dependent spouse. The court does not require the dependent spouse to spend individual assets to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
If you are in the midst of a divorce and wondering whether you may be eligible to receive alimony, a consultation with an experienced Cary alimony attorney could be beneficial. You may need the advice of someone who understands the alimony laws and how they may apply to you.
An attorney can help you understand what factors may weigh into how much, if any, alimony you are eligible to receive. They can then help you calculate what support your spouse may owe you. Call today to find out more.