The payment of alimony in North Carolina is governed by statute and case law. Because North Carolina follows the partnership theory of marriage, the obligation to pay alimony is based on the premise that both spouses have an obligation to support each other financially during the marriage. Alimony, or spousal support, is the extension of this obligation after the parties have divorced.
Marital miscounduct can have a profound impact on your ability to receive, or obligation to pay, spousal support. If infidelity is at issue in your case, click here to read about the potential implications.
Different Terms for Alimony
Alimony is a general term that refers to the order for payment of the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse. Alimony can be paid in periodic payments or in a lump sum payment, and may be for a specified period or for an indefinite term. Spousal support is the equivalent of alimony.
Post-separation Support is spousal support that is paid after the parties have separated until the earlier of any of the following: 1) The date specified in the order for post-separation support; 2) The entry of an order awarding or denying alimony; 3) The dismissal of an alimony claim; 4) The entry of a judgment of absolute divorce if no claim of alimony is pending at the time of entry of the judgment of absolute divorce; or 5) The dependent spouse remarries or cohabitates, or either the payor spouse or dependent spouse dies.
When Alimony is Awarded in North Carolina
For a court to determine that an award of alimony is appropriate, a two step analysis must be performed. First, the court must make a preliminary finding that there is a dependent spouse and a supporting spouse. Next, the court must look to the statutory factors to determine whether an award of alimony is equitable after considering all the relevant statutory factors.
Because alimony may entail large sums of money or the transfer of substantial wealth, legal representation to protect your rights will be a good investment. Additionally, if you believe that you have assets that may be subject to litigation in a dissolution of marriage (divorce) proceeding, you are again reminded that obtaining legal counsel in these complicated issues may be worth the effort and the money. Contact Cary Divorce Attorney James Hart to schedule a divorce assessment.