Understanding How Alimony Works
Alimony, often called spousal support, is money paid by one spouse to another during a separation or after their divorce. Paid either as a lump sum or via monthly payments, typically, it’s awarded to one spouse when there is a significant difference in income or income earning potential. For example, if one spouse has a high paying job with several years of seniority and experience and the other spouse has been a homemaker and out of the workforce for 10 years, there would be a vast difference in income earning potential.
Factors That Affect Alimony Payments
In addition to financial need, our alimony attorneys know that several factors can play into whether spousal support is paid.
Child Support and Alimony
If the couple has children together, and the custodial parent is also seeking alimony, the child support payment can affect the spousal support payment. Because it increases the net monthly income of the recipient, the dependent spouse will have less need for alimony.
Prior to October 1995, “marital fault” was an essential element in any alimony claim. For example, in order for one party to receive support, the other spouse would have to be found at fault for the divorce such as by committing adultery or abandoning the marriage. North Carolina Legislature revised the law to eliminate fault as a requirement for an alimony claim and established marital misconduct as only one factor to consider.
Duration of the Marriage
The longer two people are married, the more likely it is that one party will have to pay alimony to the other, especially if one party has a significantly lower earning capacity.