How Is The Amount and Duration of Alimony Determined
In North Carolina, alimony may be given to a party who is dependent on the other spouse financially. This typically means that there is a significant disparity in the parties income. There are no guidelines to determine the amount and duration of financial support. Instead, a three-pronged approach is used that involves analyzing (1) the monthly financial needs of a dependent spouse; (2) the ability of a dependent spouse to contribute to his or her own needs; and (3) the ability of a “supporting” spouse to help make up the shortfall.
In order to determine the financial needs of the dependent spouse we take a deep dive into the financials which includes credit card bills, bank statements, and receipts for the time period at issue. This analysis includes all spending both on bills and on things like vacations, holiday gifts, and self-care.
Next, we look at the ability of the dependent spouse to contribute to his/her own needs by looking at their net income from employment or other sources. We may also consider the earning capacity of the dependent spouse even though he/she may be unemployed or employed only part-time.
Finally, we look at the ability of the supporting spouse to help make up the shortfall. This is done by looking at the supporting spouse's monthly expenses.
Who Gets To Decide How Much And For How Long
The duration and amount of alimony is determined either by the Judge presiding over your case or can also be agreed to by the parties in either a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement or in a consent order signed by a Judge.
Whether a Judge will award alimony and for how long is in their sole discretion and will differ depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the venue, and the particular judge.
My Spouse Cheated Or Committed Some Other Act Of Marital Misconduct. Does That Matter?
Yes, in a determination of alimony marital misconduct of either party is considered in whether alimony should be awarded or denied. Marital misconduct can include illicit sexual behavior, substance abuse, domestic violence, or other indignities on the part of either party.
When Will An Alimony Award End?
Alimony will terminate at the end of the time listed in order or agreed to by the parties, but will also terminate at the death of a party, or the remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse.
What Is Post-Separation Support
Post-separation support is money paid from a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for a set period of time set by the Court until an alimony order is entered or denied by the Court, until an alimony claim is dismissed by a dependent spouse, or until the entry of an absolute divorce judgment if no alimony claim is pending at the time of divorce.
Will Marital Misconduct Be Considered In A Post Separation Support Determination?
Marital misconduct can be considered in a post-separation support determination but is not required to be considered.