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What are the basics about spousal support?

Our readers in North Carolina know that every divorce case is different and so, necessarily, the issues that will be important in one case may not be the primary concern in another. For example, many divorcing couples who are parents are, first and foremost, concerned with child custody and child support. However, oftentimes, those couples who are not parents will likely be more concerned with the issues of property division and alimony, also known these days as “spousal support.”

So, what are the basics about spousal support that our readers should know if they are contemplating a divorce? Well, for starters, it is important to understand that alimony likely will not be awarded if one spouse or the other does not request it.

From there, a family law judge will need to consider a wide variety of factors in order to determine alimony. First, if alimony should be awarded at all, and then, how much alimony should be paid. And, finally, how long alimony should be paid.

Various factors will be considered. This includes how long the marriage lasted and how the couple handled their finances during the marriage. In other words, their “standard of living.” Each spouse’s age and health situation and each spouse’s ability to support themselves financially after the divorce is finalized is also considered. Finally, the court will look at how long the spouse who would receive alimony would need to get the appropriate education or training to earn a decent income. As readers can see, spousal support can become a highly contentious and complicated issue in any given divorce case in North Carolina.