If you’re a North Carolina resident who is going through a divorce, you can consider asking the court to award you spousal support.

The court is not required to grant alimony but will review the financial documents to determine if you have depended on your spouse for support during your marriage. The judge will look at facts such as:

  • Your earnings, or earning capacity, compared to that of your spouse
  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living
  • Contributions each of you made toward the education or career of your spouse

If you’re granted alimony, it likely won’t be forever. Most times, it is awarded long enough for the recipients to get back on their feet and support themselves. A court can review it to determine if it should be continued, stopped or recalculated.

Spousal support also will end upon the death of the paying spouse or when the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a civil union.

Alimony can be paid monthly or in a one-time, lump-sum payment. An advantage to this type of payment is that you receive it once and don’t have to worry about whether your alimony check will arrive each month. A disadvantage is that one larger amount could affect your tax status; your financial planner or attorney can offer guidance on that topic.

North Carolina is among the states that allow the court to consider a spouse’s conduct, such as having an extramarital affair, when determining spousal support. Your family law attorney can discuss that situation, as well as others unique to your case, and how they can impact your chances of receiving alimony.