Defining and Calculating Alimony in North Carolina
The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a dependent spouse from a spouse with the ability to pay. Because no formula exists for calculating alimony in North Carolina, the determination of spousal support remains one of the most intricate and contentious parts of a divorce. You need a divorce attorney focused on your best interests.
Whether you are seeking alimony, facing a request to pay alimony, or seeking to modify an existing alimony arrangement, it’s important to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the long-term consequences of any alimony decision.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks can guide you through all aspects of your divorce and provide trusted guidance regarding the payment of alimony and your rights. We will explain how acts of marital misconduct can affect an alimony claim if that becomes an issue. Our attorneys have handled many divorces in which spousal support was a point of issue. We are committed to providing professional representation and treating each client with respect and personalized attention.
Defining and Calculating Alimony in North Carolina
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is one of the more nuanced (and often contentious) issues to navigate through the divorce process. Unlike child support, where a calculator is used to determine the appropriate amount of child support in the majority of cases, there is no “alimony calculator” or go-to formula for spousal support. Moreover, alimony is essentially the primary marital claim that specifically addresses issues of “marital misconduct.” As a result, alimony negotiation and litigation are intricate, complex, and often downright messy.
Defining a Dependent Spouse and Supporting Spouse
In North Carolina, the primary purpose of alimony is to provide financial support from the spouse with the ability to pay to the spouse in need. To do so, the Court must determine that there is a “dependent spouse” and a “supporting spouse.” A “dependent spouse” is a spouse who is actually dependent on the other for support or substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. A “supporting spouse” is a spouse upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent, or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support.”
Defining Marital Misconduct
Acts of marital misconduct committed by either spouse can be used to support (or to defend against) an alimony claim. To be successful in obtaining an award for alimony, the party seeking alimony must provide sufficient evidence to the Court for it to establish the following: (1) dependent spouse (a spouse who is actually dependent on the other for support or substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse); (2) a supporting spouse (spouse upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support); and (3) alimony is equitable after consideration of all relevant factors. Once these three elements are established, the court is again required to “consider all relevant factors” in determining the amount and duration of the alimony award. Relevant factors include the marital misconduct of either spouse. “Marital misconduct” means any of the following acts that occur during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation:
- Illicit sexual behavior acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, deviate sexual acts, or sexual acts defined in GS 14-27.20(4), voluntarily engaged in by a spouse and with someone other than the other spouse.
- Involuntary separation in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought.
- Abandonment of the other spouse, which is defined as bringing cohabitation to an end without justification, without consent of the other spouse, and without intent of renewing it.
- Malicious turning-out-of-doors of the other spouse.
- Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse.
- Indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome.
- Reckless spending of the income of either party or the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets.
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable burdensome and life burdensome.
- Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one’s means and condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life.
Contact a Divorce and Alimony Attorney in Raleigh Today
If you have questions about spousal support, whether you are seeking alimony, receiving alimony, or paying alimony, speak with an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks. Our family law attorneys focus their entire practice on matters related to separation, divorce, alimony, post-separation support, child support, and related issues in North Carolina.
We welcome the chance to review your situation, answer your questions, and help you understand how North Carolina family law applies to your specific situation. Contact us today at (919) 874-1829 for our family law consultation rates, or use our online contact form to reach us.