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How is alimony determined?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce proceedings in North Carolina frequently result in major implications for people’s finances. Divorce costs money, and it also requires that people divide their resources and debts. In some scenarios, spouses can agree on terms for support. In litigated scenarios, the courts can potentially order one spouse to make regular payments to the other.

In scenarios where adults share parental responsibility for children, the family courts can order child support payments. Alimony, which some states refer to as spousal support, is also an option. In litigated situations, there are different ways that the courts go about determining how much alimony one spouse pays to the other during a North Carolina divorce.

There isn’t a specific formula

In some states, there is a straightforward formula that can help people at least very closely estimate the amount of alimony that the courts will order. However, North Carolina does not have a formula. Instead, judges make alimony determinations on a case-by-case basis by reviewing specific details outlined in state statutes.

They have to look carefully at the circumstances of the spouses to make a decision about whether alimony is appropriate and how much one spouse may need to pay the other. One of the most important considerations for a judge reviewing an alimony request will be the need of one spouse to receive financial support, as well as the ability of the other spouse to pay.

The household contributions of the lower-earning or non-working spouse will be a consideration, as will the misconduct of either spouse during the marriage. Typically, judges view alimony as a means of helping someone reestablish themselves independently. However, in certain scenarios, judges may order long-term or permanent alimony because someone likely cannot support themselves.

Spouses can take control over alimony matters

The idea that a judge ultimately decides what happens with the finances of both spouses may seem frustrating or even unfair to those preparing for divorce. Thankfully, they do have an alternate option. Those preparing for divorce in North Carolina can always reach a mutual agreement with their spouse, allowing them to set their own rules for alimony instead of asking a judge to settle the matter.

Understanding standard judicial approaches to alimony requests may help people to more effectively plan for how to handle their divorce-related circumstances. Seeking legal guidance can help individuals to achieve this clarity.