Charlotte Alimony Lawyers
Providing guidance about spousal support during divorce in North Carolina
When a marriage ends, one residence becomes two, meaning any shared income ends. This can be a big economic hit when one spouse is dependent on another. The court typically awards spousal support, also known as alimony, during a divorce to a dependent spouse. North Carolina defines a dependent spouse as one who is “substantially” dependent on the other for financial support or maintenance.
The Charlotte divorce attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC can provide experienced guidance if you have questions about either providing or receiving spousal support. We can work with you to come up with reasonable, effective and equitable solutions. Allow us to answer your questions.
What is spousal support?
Whether you’ve just separated from your spouse or are preparing to divorce, you must be informed about spousal support. Put simply, spousal support is money paid from ex to another after a marriage ends. These laws were put in place to less financial hardship on the spouse who was financially dependent on the other during the marriage.
Having an attorney on your side is crucial when determining how much spousal support is necessary. The amount of support awarded by a judge can have a significant effect on your future finances – whether you are receiving it or paying it.
Does the Charlotte divorce court award spousal support automatically?
No, spousal support isn’t awarded automatically to either party during divorced proceedings. Typically the spouse with the lower income will request that court grant them spousal support. Often, we see requests for spousal support in long-term marriages, when one of the parties has spent more time at home raising children, or delaying their career for marriage and family. Or, if one of the spouses has a medical condition or disease that leaves the unable to support themselves, courts often award spousal support.
What kinds of spousal support are available?
Here in North Carolina, the court can award two different types of financial support:
- Post-separation support. This is temporary support, paid to a spouse during the separation period leading up the divorce and until the time the divorce is finalized.
- Alimony. This is the long-term spousal support paid to a spouse after the divorce is finalized.
The courts determine the amount of support and alimony using a variety of factors.
How do the courts determine spousal support?
To be awarded alimony, the dependent spouse must show the court that they can’t maintain the same lifestyle from their marriage without financial assistance from the other. Alimony can be paid:
- In scheduled payments (most common)
- As a lump sum
- As a transfer of title or property
- Through withholding income
When determining the amount of spousal support to be awarded, the court considers a number of factors unique to each marriage. These include things like:
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Time and training it would take for the spouse to become independent
- Spouse’s standard of living during the marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Ability of the paying spouse to support themselves
- Marital misconduct, including infidelity and domestic violence, by either spouse
Our spousal support and alimony attorneys can talk to you about whether you may be eligible for support, or how much support you may have to provide. Knowing what to expect is the key to feeling confident and prepared.
How long will my spousal support last after my Charlotte divorce?
In cases of post-separation support, support is typically paid for a year, or until alimony is awarded or (in rare cases) denied. Following a finalized divorce, alimony is relatively permanent unless your or your spouse’s circumstances significantly change, in which case you must file a request for modification. Even if you and your ex-spouse agree on any spousal support changes, if you don’t make a formal change to your divorce agreement, you’ll have no legal recourse in the event of a dispute.
In most cases, spousal support ends in the following cases:
- The recipient remarries
- The recipient begins residing with a new partner
- The ex-spouses remarry
- The recipient passes away
Spousal support also ends when the payer passes away, but in some instances support could continue through the payer’s estate if negotiated in a separate agreement.
Does alimony count as income?
Not anymore. As posted on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website, “Beginning on January 1, 2019, and affecting alimony granted through a separation agreement signed after that date or a court order entered after that date, alimony is no longer included in the calculation of a dependent spouse’s gross income.”
If you have any questions about how spousal support might affect your taxes, our family law attorneys can provide experienced guidance.
Seasoned Charlotte spousal support and alimony lawyers
The divorce attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC take the complex financial issues around spousal support and make them easier to understand – and work to your benefit. We stand by you during the divorce process and answer all your questions. Our attorneys are just minutes off the NC-16. To reserve a consultation at one of our offices in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.