How long you have to pay alimony in North Carolina? This is not a simple question. The answer can vary depending on the facts of your case. If you are considering divorce and need to know how long you may be obligated to pay spousal support, read on. In this blog post, we will discuss the factors that courts consider when ruling on alimony payments. Knowing what to expect can help you make informed decisions about your divorce case.
What Is Spousal Support In North Carolina?
When a marriage ends, it’s possible that the court may order one spouse to pay alimony. A supporting spouse then makes financial support payments after the divorce.
After a legal separation, a court may order post-separation support. This is another type of spousal support that carries a receiving spouse through financially until the divorce proceeding. It is a temporary alimony award.
The court determines an alimony order amount and how long alimony payments last based on what the recipient spouse needs to bridge the gap in your relative financial status. However, the amounts and length of alimony also depend on how long a marriage lasts.
Alimony is designed to offer financial assistance, enabling a spouse who was financially dependent during the marriage to maintain their quality of life after separation and divorce. A financially self-sufficient former spouse is less likely to receive a large alimony award.
How Much Alimony Can I Expect to Pay to the Other Spouse?
Whether you will need to make alimony payments in North Carolina will depend on the many factors a court will consider.
For example, you made roughly $250,000 annually in Wake County, and your spouse took care of the home and children during a marriage lasting 20 years. The court will likely look at the lifestyle you and your spouse enjoyed together when considering the alimony award.
However, if you both worked outside the home with similar salaries and did not have children together, the court may award your spouse less or no alimony. The more self-supporting your spouse is, the less likely they will need spousal support from you.
What Will the Court Consider When Deciding Types of Alimony?
The amount of spousal support payments and alimony awarded is highly dependent on many different factors, including the following:
- Financial circumstances, including spouses’ relative earnings and earning capacities
- Employment history and gainful employment at present time
- Short-term marriage vs. long-term marriage
- Ages and physical (including serious illness), mental, and emotional conditions of each spouse
- Relative education levels of each spouse
- Relative assets and liabilities of each spouse, including marital property in the divorce.
- Any written agreement between the spouses, or a prior court order relating to spousal support
- Relative debts and tax consequences to each spouse
- Relative contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including through homemaking or childcare
- Relative needs of each spouse
- Child support amounts and where children live now
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Any other factors the court finds relevant
The judge awards types of alimony based on what they see is fair to both spouses. Once the divorce is finalized, it is less likely for a supported spouse to receive an alimony award.
How Long Do You Have to be Married Before Your Spouse Can Be Eligible for an Alimony Arrangement?
In North Carolina, the duration of a marriage is not fixed by state ordinance and does not determine whether or not one spouse can receive alimony. However, short-term marriages are less likely to result in permanent alimony than long-term marriages.
Generally, the longer you remain married to your partner, the higher likelihood of an alimony award and larger payments to the other party.
A marriage of 30 years may see a spouse receiving alimony for 15 years. However, a marriage of 6 years may see an alimony award for only a couple of years.
All in all, alimony payments help a dependent spouse to preserve their lifestyle following divorce proceedings. If your partner stopped working for an extended period of time or faced high medical bills, they could be eligible to receive an increased amount of alimony. A spouse may receive lifelong alimony payments if they were married to you for a long time and cannot support themselves.
Rather than appearing before a court, you and your spouse may want to consider collaborating on an agreement that can save both time and money. An uncontested divorce is typically cheaper, faster, and less stressful. However, you and your spouse must agree to all issues concerning separation and divorce to achieve an uncontested divorce.
Talk with an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether an uncontested divorce could work in your favor. As attorneys who have managed countless cases like yours before, they know exactly what to expect and how best to approach your situation for the best outcome.
By hiring a trustworthy and experienced divorce attorney, you can be assured that they are well-versed in North Carolina state laws and outcomes in divorce courts across the state.
We Can Help
If you have questions about alimony or how a court may see your case, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced divorce attorneys at Plekan Law Firm. Our team can provide legal assistance, providing you with a comprehensive overview of your individual scenario.
Give us a call today to set up a consultation. We look forward to helping you find the best outcome as you close this chapter of your life journey.