As family dynamics have changed in the last few decades, spousal support (also called alimony) has become less and less common in divorce proceedings. It is still possible to pursue spousal support and a number of factors will be used to determine if such support is appropriate to your unique situation. If your spouse agrees to spousal support as part of an uncontested divorce agreement, the court will not need to determine the details.
If the court determines possible spousal support, here are some of the factors that will be considered:
- Was there any marital misconduct by either spouse?
- What is the earning capacity of each spouse?
- What is the age, physical health, mental health and emotional state of each spouse?
- How long were you married?
- Did one spouse make significant contributions to the education or career advancement of the other spouse?
- Did one spouse bring significant property or assets into the marriage?
- Did one spouse act as a homemaker and what was the standard of living established during the marriage?
Spousal support in North Carolina is not subject to guidelines like child support payments. Spousal support payments vary widely depending on circumstances and it is never automatically granted. You must file for spousal support prior to the finalization of your divorce for it to be considered. Another factor that will be determined by the court is how long the spousal support will continue. Post-separation support ends when the divorce is finalized. Spousal support may terminate when children come of age, when you remarry or cohabit with a new partner or upon your death. It may also be awarded for a set number of years, depending on the situation.