Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is one of the many issues divorcing couples in North Carolina may have to address, but it often is not until the proceedings are well underway. Generally, a plan has be to in place for how debts and assets are to be divided before determining how much spousal support has to be paid, or if it should be paid at all.

State law governs how much spousal support either party may receive. The calculation depends on a spouse’s previous lifestyle, the payer’s ability to meet the obligation, the health and ages of both parties, the length of the marriage, and the recipient’s needs.

Alimony is meant to mitigate any adverse financial impact that may be experienced by a spouse who does not earn an income or who earns the lower income. Judges not only consider the previously mentioned factors when considering the need for spousal support, but they also take into account non-marital assets and if there are minor children involved.

There are some courts that award rehabilitative maintenance. These payments payments are intended to provide the recipients with temporary financial assistance, giving them enough time to return to school or obtain the skills needed to become employed. In addition, alimony orders can be modified after they are issued, and this can happen if the financial circumstances of either of the parties have changed. A family law attorney may assist clients with resolving disputes regarding alimony as well as with the preparation of the paperwork that is required to request – or oppose – a modification.