Effective Legal Counsel From A Pender County Native

Eligibility for alimony in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2019 | Divorce |

The prospect of ending a marriage can be unsettling for some people since they will lose access to the income of a higher earning spouse. To make sure spouses faced with this dilemma do not end up in a destitute situation, state law allows for divorcing spouses to request alimony from their soon to be ex-partner. A North Carolina court will consider whether a person is eligible for alimony based upon certain criteria. 

FindLaw explains that according to North Carolina law, to receive alimony, a judge has to determine that a spouse is substantially dependent on the other spouse. To meet this standard, a judge will determine if the spouse requesting alimony would not be able to maintain the living standards that the spouse enjoyed during the time the couple was together. Also, the judge will look at whether the dependent spouse is unable to maintain a past lifestyle before the couple separated without the financial help of the other spouse. 

North Carolina law also invalidates a person from receiving alimony if the spouse requesting it had engaged in certain illicit sexual acts. If the requesting spouse had an affair while the couple was married or just before they separated or on the date of separation, a judge will not award the alimony. However, if both spouses had engaged in extramarital affairs, a judge may grant the alimony request in light of all remaining circumstances surrounding the case. 

Judges can also turn down a request for alimony based upon what North Carolina law calls marital misconduct. When a spouse engages in behavior that harms the other spouse or is criminal, a judge may decide the offending spouse is not eligible for alimony. These acts may include recklessly endangering the life of the spouse, throwing a spouse out of the home, abandoning the spouse, abusing alcohol or drugs, spending money recklessly or being incarcerated due to a crime. 

Determining whether a spouse can receive alimony is just one question the court will consider. If a spouse is to receive alimony, the court must also figure out how long the alimony will last, how much alimony the spouse will receive, and how the other spouse will pay it, among other matters. The judge will base these questions upon many factors unique to the case involved.