When a marriage ends, there will usually be one spouse who has done better than the other, financially. The idea of spousal support is to ensure that the other spouse can be put in a financial position where he or she can look forward to leading an independent life.
Unlike child support, there is no particular formula for spousal support. Judges are given factors to consider by the law, but then have discretion to make the decision they feel is appropriate. It is therefore impossible to know exactly how much spousal support will be awarded in a particular case; however, one can consider the following guidelines.
The court must consider all relevant factors in order to determine if alimony is proper and how much support will be awarded. Among them, the court may consider whether there has been any adultery (whether before or after separation of the spouses.) The court will consider the relative earning and earning capacity of the parties. If one parent has become successful in their field while the other has stayed at home and raised the children, the court will consider that the stay-at-home parent has a lower earning capacity. The court may consider the ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the spouses, for example, any physical or health issues that will keep one of the spouses from working.
The court will consider any income that each spouse has available to them, as well as the duration of the marriage. The court may balance the income of the spouses if one spouse has made a significant contribution to the other’s education, training, or increased earning power.
Finally, the court will consider the relative assets and liabilities, as well as any debts, of each spouse, as well as separate property.
Once the court has considered the statutory factors, then it has discretion as to how much alimony to order for the spouse.
The above list does not include all statutory factors, and you can only have a better understanding of North Carolina’s alimony law by speaking with an experienced family law attorney. Jonathan Meek has experience in cases involving alimony and will work to get the best result for you in court. Skilled legal advice from Meek Law Firm. Call (704) 848-6335 to schedule a consultation.
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