Requests for alimony can be a highly combative issue in North Carolina divorces. In most cases, there is a sharp divide between divorcing spouses regarding whether alimony is appropriate. Even if they agree on that, they might not agree on the amount or the duration.
Unless divorcing spouses can work out an alimony arrangement themselves, or unless they have in place an enforceable prenuptial agreement that addresses alimony, the decision on whether a person receives alimony will be up to the courts. In these situations, there are factors that could prevent a person from receiving support.
- You committed adultery: In North Carolina, state laws dictate that a spouse who commits adultery during a marriage shall not receive alimony, so, if there is evidence that you were unfaithful, the courts can deny support. However, if both spouses were unfaithful, the courts will deny or award alimony at its discretion.
- You did not request alimony: Spousal support is not automatic, even when there is an obvious need for it. In order to receive alimony, you must ask for it. The courts will then assess your request based on numerous factors.
- You are not a dependent spouse: Alimony is available to spouses who are financially dependent on the supporting spouse. If you can support yourself and the property division process leaves each person on fairly equal footing financially, then you may not receive alimony.
- Your ex cannot pay: One main factor courts consider in alimony claims is each person’s earning capacity. If your ex does not have financial means to pay alimony, the courts may not award it.
- You were not married long: The duration of your marriage is another significant factor in a court’s consideration. Generally speaking, the longer you were married, the more likely it is that you could receive alimony. If you were only married for a matter of months or a couple years, then the courts may not award alimony.
To protect yourself and your post-divorce financial resources, you can discuss requests for alimony with an experienced attorney. Legal guidance can help you manage your expectations, build your case and identify solutions that help you secure the outcome you deserve.