The Laws of Alimony in North Carolina
I guess that can be a divorce petition’s saving grace, when you think about it: it’s that little thing called “alimony.” Sometimes known as spousal support, this is a form of supplemental support given to a party suffering financially from a divorce. Think of it as free money!
One important thing to know about alimony, though: divorces aren’t created equal. Alimony in NC deals with a lot more complexity than, say, child support. There are no ‘wage garnishments’ or ‘liens,’ which are typically used to enforce child support payments.
Even determining how much alimony is necessary takes a great deal of thinking and deliberating. Who would’ve thought alimony in North Carolina was such a big deal? It even states in Judicial Forms for the state that anyone should consult a lawyer when trying to figure out if they qualify for alimony.
Nothing’s written down by law.
There are, however, some basic guidelines courts follow to determine the possibility for alimony in NC.
The Bases for Alimony in North Carolina
As stated by the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, there are these guidelines. However, one guidelines or all but one guideline may not dictate an absolute certainty of alimony in NC. The bottom line is every marriage, every divorce petition, every situation after divorce is unique. And therefore must be treated as such.
• The Age, Physicality, Emotional Health, and Finances of Spouses
• Time Length to Receive Training or Education for Self-Sufficiency
• Standard of Living
• Length of Marriage
• Whether or Not the Alimony Payer Can Support Both the Payee and Himself/Herself
Consider all of this, and it should be somewhat clear. It’s still not a definite. Any one of these factors can be in complete opposition, and neither factor is more important than the others.
This Presents Quite the Dilemma for a Court, Doesn’t It?
To make it even more complex, there are still more unique factors that can arise depending on the situation. Some divorces can get quite complex. Courts may consider all or one of these factors as well when determining alimony:
• Earning Capacity
• Earning Impairments
• Children in Home
• Tax Consequences
• Prenuptial Agreements
Think about some possible situations for a moment – prenups, children in the home, maybe even tax situations. They can all play a role in drastically affecting income between two parties in a divorce.
Child support already does quite a bit to change the situation. But there’s so much more involved. This is why courts have to be careful in considering every possibility. Some cases require alimony, no matter what. Others don’t (even if it looks like they do).
You can bet, though, that one thing’s a certainty about alimony:
There’s No Formula Needed for Spousal Support
None at all. It’s pointless to demand a formula be set up for it. Children are an easy fix. Setting up amounts is crucial. But when dealing with adults who are forced to drastically change their way of life due to a change in income? That requires something no formula can satisfy.
No matter how you look at it, though, the courts do their best to make sure alimony is decided fairly.