When preparing for divorce, one of your biggest concerns about your split will likely be your future economic security. If your spouse earned more than you do, the loss of their income could impact your standard of living. And if you depended on their earnings completely, you might fear for your ability to survive without their support. Yet, your circumstances may mean that your divorce settlement could include alimony.
How alimony works in North Carolina
You and your spouse may be parting on amicable terms. In this case, you two have the option of working out your own alimony agreement. Yet, you will need a judge to review and approve it before it becomes binding. If you and your spouse cannot create your own agreement, North Carolina courts will not make an automatic alimony award in your divorce. Rather, a judge may order it if you depend on your spouse’s income to make ends meet. They may also do so if you need part of your spouse’s income to maintain your standard of living. Yet, acts of marital misconduct on your part – specifically illicit sexual behavior – may have caused your divorce. In this case, state law will keep you from receiving alimony.
Factors that affect alimony
The duration and value of your alimony award will depend on factors unique to your marriage. When making their ruling, a judge may weigh:
- How long your marriage lasted
- How tax laws will affect your alimony award
- You and your spouse’s income and earning ability
- You and your spouse’s individual assets and debts
- Whether caring for minor children has impacted you or your spouse’s earning ability
- Whether you or your spouse contributed to the other’s education, job training or increased earning power
- The standard of living you and your spouse shared
You will want to make sure that any alimony you receive reflects the specific needs you have. An attorney with family law experience can help you work toward a fair award.