What is Permanent Alimony?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

June 23, 2017

As an experienced North Carolina alimony lawyer, Jonathan Breeden of the Breeden Law Office knows how hectic and painful a divorce can be. You may no longer get along with your spouse, and you may just want the process to be over and done with. For over a decade, attorney Breeden has provided compassionate and skillful representation to those going through a divorce. With his help, you can arrange a separation agreement that is mutually beneficial and puts you on a path forward.

If you have questions about your case, or if you are seeking representation, call (919) 661-4970 today.

Support in North Carolina

There are two main forms of spousal support in North Carolina: post-separation support and alimony.

Post-separation support is a sum provided to a spouse until divorce proceedings have concluded. To gain this type of financial support, a spouse must display that they are a dependent spouse, that the other spouse is the primary financial earner, that they are unable to provide for themselves, and that the supporting spouse has the means to provide post-separation support.

Alimony, on the other hand, is an amount paid from the supporting spouse to the receiving spouse after the divorce has concluded. In determining the amount and whether the spousal support is still necessary, the court will evaluate both spouses’ earnings, financial needs, and the standard of living that both spouses have grown accustomed to. This support can either be permanent or temporary, depending on the circumstances.

In many cases, alimony might not be indefinite. This form of support, often referred to as rehabilitative alimony, is only meant to provide for the receiving spouse will they are trying to become self-sufficient. This could mean receiving money until a degree is finished, or until a job training program has been completed. This support might also be awarded if the receiving spouse has children to stay home with.

Although alimony is often temporary, it can be made permanent. If it is decided that one spouse will never be able to provide for themselves, or if one spouse has a serious mental condition or physical disability, permanent alimony may be awarded. This type of spousal support is also seen in cases where the marriage has lasted decades, or when it is included as a condition in a prenuptial agreement.

The Origins of Alimony

In many divorce cases, alimony can seem like an antiquated concept. After all, why would one spouse not be able to provide for themselves after a divorce? There was a time; however, when spousal support was considered reasonable and even appropriate. Several decades ago, many women did not work, and many more were unfairly denied employment opportunities. When a couple got a divorce, it meant that a spouse might face severe consequences, such as homelessness or malnutrition. In the past, most divorces were based on fault, and if the dissolution was the husband’s fault, alimony seemed justified.

Additional Determining Factors

North Carolina General Statutes 50-16.3 lists several spousal support elements that are considered by the court. One of the most surprising factors states that marital misconduct prior to the date of separation can play a role in determining alimony length, duration, and amount. If for example, a husband was to cheat on his wife, that misconduct may convince the courts to award permanent alimony.

Other determining factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The property that each spouse brought to the marriage
  • The extent to which each spouse acts as a homemaker
  • The tax implications of making spousal support payments
  • The amount of time it will take the receiving spouse to obtain adequate education or job training
  • The physical, mental, and emotional health needs of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage and the circumstances surrounding separation

How Jonathan Breeden Can Help

Whether your divorce case has just begun or you have been involved in lengthy proceedings for months, obtaining skilled legal representation can help you protect your rights. North Carolina alimony attorney Jonathan Breeden will stand by your side and fight for your best interests.

Call (919) 661-4970 now to schedule a consultation an experienced and highly-skilled North Carolina alimony lawyer.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden