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An overview of alimony and what it might mean for you

Our readers in North Carolina who are getting involved in a divorce case might hear the term "alimony" and cringe. These days, alimony is becoming more commonly referred to as "spousal support." Whatever you call it, many people who are involved in a divorce case have many preconceived notions about what alimony is and how it might impact their lives even after the divorce is finalized. An overview of alimony can be beneficial for those who may have this issue involved in their divorce case.

For starters, it is important to understand why alimony might be ordered in a divorce case. Typically, alimony is ordered to attempt to correct a perceived economic imbalance that will be created between the ex-spouses after the divorce is finalized. In many cases, one spouse or the other might have a better education, more job skills training and, in general, better employment prospects. If that is the case, that ex-spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse who is perceived to be at an economic disadvantage.

There are a wide range of factors that come into play when a family law judge is attempting to determine whether alimony should be ordered. Those factors can include: the length of the marriage; the age of the spouses; the amount of time it will take for one of the spouses to get additional education and job training; and even the standard of living the couple experienced while they were married.

Lastly, it is important to understanding how paying alimony works. Typically, alimony payments will be required to be made on a monthly basis in a set amount for a set period of time. But, if the couple reaches an out-of-court agreement that works better for them, the court may approve such an agreement.

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