If you’re going through a separation or divorce in North Carolina, you may have trouble understanding how spousal support works. You may have questions such as, “How will I support myself?” “What is alimony vs spousal support?” “Is there post-separation support?”

If you are a dependent spouse, it’s easy to worry about how it will all work out. However, you do have options for spousal support in North Carolina! These options include post-separation support and alimony.

Let’s take a closer look at these two types of spousal support and the factors that affect a judge’s decision to award them.

What is Alimony vs Spousal Support in North Carolina?

Alimony is a type of spousal support received after a divorce. A judge can make an alimony judgment and roll it into the final divorce decree.

Filing for an “absolute divorce” in North Carolina is a no-fault process. However, spousal support is not, and a judge may determine how much spousal support and how long a spouse will receive it based on marital misconduct.

You may receive post-separation support for a specific period of time while waiting for a divorce. After a divorce, you can receive alimony indefinitely (or until you remarry).

The difference between alimony vs post-separation support is that alimony generally lasts longer and occurs after divorce, while post-separation support only lasts until the final divorce decree.

However, if you don’t fight for alimony before the divorce is final, you lose the right to ask for it!

That’s why working with a divorce attorney matters. An experienced divorce attorney can help you receive the spousal support you need and understand your rights during the process!

Who Can Receive Post-Separation Support Or Alimony Payments?

A dependent spouse can ask for temporary spousal support during the separation period. Some couples may work out how much spousal support one spouse will pay. Other couples disagree about financial assistance from a paying spouse.

However, if you’re the spouse seeking alimony, it’s possible to find financial support from a higher-earning spouse. A judge may order your ex to pay spousal support if you are in need.

It’s also possible to receive spousal support when your spouse cheats on you, even if you are self-supporting.

A judge may award alimony from the at-fault spouse to a receiving spouse in a divorce proceeding. In certain circumstances, the judge may award spousal maintenance that begins during the separation period.

If your new financial situation without your former spouse will leave you in financial need, state laws allow your ex to provide support to meet your financial needs.

Family law attorneys specializing in divorce and alimony can help you seek financial support from your ex in the form of post-separation support during your separation period and alimony after your final divorce decree.

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

Spousal support payments provide for your needs and may cover your reasonable expenses, including living expenses and other crucial needs during a separation period or after a divorce.

If your resources are insufficient to meet your reasonable needs and your spouse can pay, a court can determine that you deserve spousal support based on financial hardship. If the court chooses to establish spousal support in the form of post-separation support or alimony, they will issue a court order.

When considering spousal support, such as post-separation support and alimony, the court also looks at many factors, including:

  • Earning capacity: earnings, dividends, benefits such as medical insurance, retirement funds, other insurance, or Social Security and homemaker contributions
  • Financial liabilities
  • Age and physical, mental, and emotional factors affecting each spouse
  • Length of the marriage, standard of living during marriage, and needs of each spouse now
  • Education of each spouse and contributions to education, training, or earnings of the other spouse
  • Financial impact of child custody
  • Property brought to the marriage
  • Federal, State, and local tax ramifications of any alimony award
  • Marital misconduct

The court only considers marital misconduct when determining equitable distribution of property and alimony or spousal support.

If you struggle to make ends meet or think you may deserve spousal support, contact us at Plekan Law. We can help you calculate alimony, handle divorce proceedings, understand local court rules, and plan a strategy for court hearings.

How Long Do Spousal Support Payments Last?

The duration of alimony varies on a case-by-case basis. It is dependent upon several factors, such as the couple’s income and how long they were married.

In North Carolina, a judge can order alimony payments or post-separation support payments for either a finite or indefinite period of time. According to NC Law, alimony is for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse as a:

  • Periodic or lump sum
  • For a specified or an indefinite term

Periodic spousal support could come in the form of a monthly check, while a lump sum may come from one spouse sending a bank transfer. A judge could issue permanent spousal support, but generally, if the spouse supported by alimony remarries, the alimony ends.

Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Our experienced attorneys at Plekan Law can help you determine whether a supporting spouse must legally pay alimony to you.

Let us help you draw up the evidence you need to prove your post-separation and alimony support case. We can also help with receiving child support during your separation period or divorce proceeding.

We have the knowledge and experience you need to protect your rights in separation and divorce. Let us help you take the next steps to secure your fair share of property and care for yourself and any children.