When a marriage divorces, the two spouses are rarely financially equal. One spouse is often the primary breadwinner in many couples. The other may spend more time caring for children or the family, working part-time, or working in a lower-paying career.
It’s not unusual for the dependent spouse to take care of the family while the supporting spouse pursues his or her education and job.
When it comes to alimony, which is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other during or after the divorce, divorcing spouses sometimes quarrel about money.
North Carolina law allows judges to grant alimony, but only if the dependent spouse demonstrates a financial need and the other spouse has the financial means to pay. This article will explain to you about alimony in North Carolina.
Spousal Support In NC
In NC, judges can grant spousal support, often known as post-separation alimony in North Carolina. During the divorce process, dependent spouses might get post-separation assistance, temporary alimony. The recipient’s living and other required expenditures are normally covered by post-separation payments.
After the judge has finalized the divorce, alimony is financial support from one spouse to the other. The court may grant interim alimony to financially self-sufficient couples who need time to learn new skills or find work that pays well enough to support themselves. Alternatively, suppose the recipient is unable to achieve financial independence due to senior age or a handicap that prohibits the spouse from working. In that case, the court can order one spouse to support the other permanently.
Qualifying for Post-Separation Spousal Support
Before a court may award post-separation support, it must first determine whether the dependent spouse has sufficient financial means to sustain himself or herself during the divorce process. If not, the judge must determine whether the other spouse can afford to pay. When determining the amount of post-separation support, the court will examine the following factors:
- Both spouses’ financial needs.
- The standard of living of the couple.
- Each spouse’s current employment income and any recurrent incomes.
- Income-earning abilities of each spouse.
- Each partner has distinct and marital debt obligations.
- The required expenses of each spouse.
- If one of the spouses has a legal obligation to assist a third party.
Before awarding post-separation support, the court will look at whether either spouse engaged in marital misconduct throughout the marriage or before the couple’s separation date. If this is the case, the misconduct may have an impact on the amount of post-separation assistance awarded, as well as whether the court awards it at all.
Also, read: Grandparent’s rights in North Carolina.
Factors To Consider Alimony In North Carolina
Before deciding whether or not alimony is appropriate, a judge will look into whether either spouse engaged in “illicit sexual behaviour” during the marriage or prior to the couple’s separation date. Even if there is a financial need, the court will reject alimony if the dependent spouse commits these activities. The court will automatically award alimony if the supportive spouse engaged in unlawful sexual activity. If both spouses are found guilty, the court will decide if alimony is appropriate and, if so, how much the supportive spouse would be required to pay.
If neither spouse is guilty of unlawful sexual conduct, the court will consider the following elements in determining the amount, length, and payment mechanism for alimony:
- Abandonment, abusive treatment, or excessive use of alcohol or drugs are all examples of marital misbehaviour.
- Each spouse’s earning potential.
- Both partners’ ages and physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
- The quantity and sources of both spouses’ earned and unearned income.
- The duration of the union.
- Whether one spouse helped the other with their education, training, or improved earning ability.
- Whether either spouse is a custodial parent, and if so, whether caring for the child decreases the earning power of that spouse.
- The standard of living of the couple.
- Each spouse’s education and the time required for the supported spouse to obtain job training or work to become self-sufficient.
- Both assets and liabilities of the couple.
- The assets that each partner brought to the marriage.
- Contributions as a homemaker by either spouse.
- Both spouses’ requirements.
- The tax consequences of alimony.
- Any other element that the court deems important.
After considering all of the aforementioned elements, the court will determine the amount, length, and payment mechanism (if any) for alimony. There is no set formula for calculating alimony, and courts have a lot of leeway in establishing the ultimate amount. The legislation, however, compels the judge to list the reasons for alimony rejection or award, as well as the amount and duration of alimony.
Nc Divorce Laws Alimony
After the court determines the amount and duration of alimony, the spouses can choose from a variety of payment options. Supporting spouses can make payments in a single lump sum, monthly or quarterly (periodic) payments, an income withholding order, or even a property transfer. If you don’t pay alimony, the court may impose penalties, fees, or even jail time if you don’t pay. If you’re an alimony recipient who hasn’t received payment, you can make a formal request with the court for enforcement.
Modifying Alimony Orders
Unless the supporting spouse pays in one lump amount, most alimony orders stop on the judge’s specified date or when the recipient achieves the court’s financial independence standards. For example, if the court granted alimony while the supported spouse was in school, alimony will be terminated once the beneficiary has graduated.
If the court awarded permanent alimony, or if circumstances change before the court’s end date that renders the current interim order unjust or improper, either spouse can ask the court to review or alter it. A change in circumstances could occur if your spouse completed a job training programme faster than the court anticipated and no longer requires alimony.
If the recipient remarries or cohabitates with a third party in a “marriage-like” relationship, or if either spouse dies, all alimony is terminated
Alimony and Taxes
Suppose your alimony arrangement and/or divorce were finalized before January 1, 2019. In that case, the paying spouse could deduct alimony payments from their taxes, but the receiver must report and pay taxes on the income. However, revisions to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect on January 1, 2019. They abolished the tax-deduction benefit of alimony in North Carolina as well as the recipient’s reporting requirements.
In North Carolina, alimony does not have to be permanent. The length of time a supportive spouse is expected to pay alimony is usually determined by the variables that determine whether or not they are eligible for alimony. In most situations, the court will grant alimony for half the term of the marriage.
In North Carolina, unlike child support, alimony may not be required following a divorce for either husband. If one spouse requests alimony and the court grants it, the supporting spouse may be forced to make support payments under the provisions of the court order.
Alimony, commonly known as spousal support in North Carolina, is usually awarded to help a dependent spouse during divorce proceedings. A dependent spouse is one who is financially or otherwise dependent on the other spouse for support or maintenance or who is in need of maintenance, according to the state of North Carolina.
In most cases, the court will award alimony for the duration of half the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married for ten years, the dependent spouse would get five years of alimony.
Alimony can be paid to any spouse if they meet one of two criteria: Without the income or assets of the other spouse, the spouse cannot meet their own reasonable financial needs. Without the income or assets of the other spouse, the spouse cannot maintain the standard of living they had throughout the marriage.
If the wife does not work, the court will determine the amount of alimony based on her age, educational qualifications, and ability to work. If the husband is incapacitated and unable to work while the wife is working, the court will award the husband alimony.