Spousal support issues in divorce cases in North Carolina are oftentimes looked at only through the lens of which spouse will be paying, and how much will be paid. However, it is important to remember that these issues come up in a divorce because one of the soon-to-be ex-spouses believes that some form of financial assistance is necessary to “even things out” in terms of education and employment.
As a recent news article noted, spousal support is oftentimes necessary because, in many relationships, one of the spouses may have, at some point, given up a job or career to take on extra responsibilities in the home so that the other spouse could attend school or advance a career. When an opportunity like that is given up by one spouse or the other, an order of spousal support is one way to help make up the difference in the event of a divorce.
The recent news article also pointed out that the divorcing couple is usually free to negotiate what amount of spousal support is fair, just like any other legal issue in a divorce case. If the parties reach an agreement in out-of-court negotiations, and the court verifies that agreement, they can proceed with whatever payments were negotiated. But, if the divorcing spouses cannot work out an agreement, the decision will be left to the family law judge.
Lastly, the length of time that spousal support may be paid can be negotiated as well. Usually, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the amount of time spousal support will be paid. But, there are many other factors that can be considered as well, beyond just the length of the marriage. North Carolina residents who believe that spousal support may become a contentious issue in their divorce case may need to get more information about potential legal options before disagreements erupt in open court.