You worked hard to reach this place in your career. Along with your title, you are also finally earning a good wage for your work. Now that you are going through a divorce, you do not want all your hard-earned money to go to your soon-to-be ex.
In North Carolina, a dependent spouse is eligible for alimony. However, a spouse who makes less money is not automatically “dependent” within the meaning of the law.
If a spouse does meet the financial dependency requirement, the court looks at different factors to determine the amount and duration of alimony. Some of these factors might be:
· How much each spouse makes
· The ability of the spouse who earns more to pay after meeting their own expenses
· The length of the marriage
· Other financial resources of each spouse
· The standard of living during the marriage
· Education level of each partner
· Debts of each partner
· Possible tax consequences of alimony
· Reasonable needs of each partner
· Health and age of each spouse
· Marital misconduct
An affair may lead to no alimony
If the spouse seeking alimony engaged in an extramarital affair, affair involving illicit sexual behavior, he or she forfeits the right to alimony. To prove that an affair occurred, you do not have to catch someone in the act. In North Carolina you must show “inclination and opportunity.” This could be demonstrated if there are photos of a person going into a hotel room or residence with a third party, and serve as proof that they spent the night with that person. Other sources of proof may be bank or credit card statements, receipts and phone records.
Many people falsely believe that if your spouse has an affair it automatically entitles the wronged spouse to alimony. This is incorrect. If the spouse who has the affair earns relatively the same or earns less money than the other spouse, alimony is not an option because the first requirement of financial dependency has not been met. Until financial dependency on the other spouse is established, marital misconduct does not come into play.
Court can award PSS or alimony
In North Carolina the court can award post separation support (PSS), which is essentially short-term alimony. Payments for PSS are typically for a period of 12 months, or until the divorce judgment is entered. The biggest difference between post separation support and alimony is an affair or sexual misconduct is not necessarily a bar to post separation support.
Alimony is generally awarded for a period of months or years, and under North Carolina law terminates automatically if the spouse receiving payments cohabitates or remarries, or if either spouse dies.
In North Carolina, the court has a lot of discretion to award alimony payments. If you and your former partner agree, you can also settle alimony out of court in a separation agreement.