5 Common Questions about Alimony

Written by Jonathan Breeden

February 7, 2018

Most people are aware that when a divorce happens, one spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support or alimony to the other. However, alimony is a complicated topic that many people are unclear about. To clarify how alimony works, we’ve compiled a list of five of the most common questions related to the topic.

If you are going through a divorce and wish to seek alimony or expect your spouse to request it, call Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 to speak to a highly skilled alimony lawyer.

Common Alimony Questions

If you’re going through a divorce, you likely have a number of questions regarding alimony running through your mind. See my video below with some answers to commonly asked questions:

1. How is alimony calculated?
The courts will look at a number of factors when determining how much alimony should be awarded. Some of the factors they will consider include the age and health of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, the ability of the payer to support him or herself financially, the duration it will take the payee to become financially independent, the standard of living during the marriage, and whether infidelity occurred.

2.Does alimony last forever?
The majority of states no longer award alimony for an indefinite period of time. Although North Carolina does still award permanent alimony, this practice is slowly becoming less and less common.

In the past, permanent alimony was common because more women stayed at home with their children rather than going out into the workforce and earning money. Since it’s common for women to work these days, permanent alimony is not as necessary as it was in previous years.

While the courts will typically determine a date for alimony to end, it can also end when the dependent spouse remarries, lives with another person in a romantic relationship, or if either spouse passes away.

3.Are alimony and child support payments the same?
Contrary to popular belief, child support and alimony payments are separate from each other. Child support, which is paid to the spouse who has primary custody or who has less income in a joint custody scenario, is intended to provide monetary support for minor children.

It allows minor children to continue the standard of living they would have enjoyed if their parents remained married. The North Carolina Child Support Guidelines determine how much child support is awarded to the parent with primary custody or to the parent with less income in a joint custody scenario.

In the event the parent with primary custody is also the dependent spouse, they may collect alimony beyond any amount awarded for child support. It’s important to note that in some cases, the dependent spouse that receives alimony may be ordered to pay child support.

4. Does marital misconduct play a role in alimony?
Alimony will not be awarded to a dependent spouse that has been unfaithful, even if they are in a situation where they need it to support themselves financially. Additionally, if the supporting spouse has been unfaithful, they will likely be ordered to pay alimony if they have the ability to do so after paying their monthly expenses. If both spouses were unfaithful, the court will decide whether alimony should be awarded or denied.

5.Is alimony automatically awarded?
A request with the court must be filed in order for a spouse to receive alimony. Once the court receives this request, they will determine which spouse is dependent, and which one is supporting. If the court decides that alimony does make sense in a specific divorce case, they will consider the financial needs of each spouse when determining the amount of alimony that will be granted.

Contact a North Carolina Alimony Lawyer

For more information about how alimony applies to your divorce, it is in your best interest to reach out to a North Carolina alimony lawyer at Breeden Law Office today. Call us to ensure your rights during a divorce are protected. Contact us at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation today.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden