Guiding You Though the Spousal Support Process in Mecklenburg and Union Counties

Courts in North Carolina can order one spouse to pay alimony, or spousal support, to the other during the separation period and after a divorce. Unlike child support, there is not a black-and-white formula to determine the amount of spousal support or how long it should continue. Support amounts are highly dependent on the unique facts of your case.

At Kennedy Law Associates, our Charlotte alimony lawyers are here to help guide you through the support process.

What Is Alimony?

In North Carolina, "alimony" means an order for payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce. N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A.

North Carolina courts may award both temporary and permanent alimony if one spouse is financially dependent upon the other. In North Carolina, a "dependent spouse" means a spouse, whether husband or wife, who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A.

Spousal support may also be awarded or forfeited if a spouse commits marital misconduct. "Marital misconduct" means any of the following acts that occur during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation:

  • Illicit sexual behavior. For the purpose of this section, illicit sexual behavior means acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, deviate sexual acts, or sexual acts defined in G.S. 14-27.1(4), voluntarily engaged in by a spouse with someone other than the other spouse
  • Involuntary separation of the spouses in consequence of a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought
  • Abandonment of the other spouse
  • Malicious turning out-of-doors of the other spouse
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse
  • Indignities rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome
  • Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion or concealment of assets
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome
  • Willful failure to provide necessary subsistence according to one's means and condition so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome. N.C.G.S. § 50-16.1A.

Factors Used to Determine Spousal Support

Whereas child support calculations can give you a good estimate of the amount of support payments, there is no formula for determining spousal support. There are 16 factors that the court may consider when determining the amount of spousal support, including:

  • The lifestyle during the marriage
  • The needs of the recipient spouse
  • The ability of the other spouse to pay
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of any children from the marriage
  • When the recipient spouse realistically could go back to work
  • How many years before the recipient spouse reaches the age of 65

Our North Carolina family law lawyers will review all of the factors with you and determine which ones may apply to your case. Support payments will generally continue for half of the length of your marriage, barring a substantial change in circumstances.

Call for a Consultation With a Skilled Spousal Support Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce and have concerns regarding spousal support, we are prepared to help. Contact our Charlotte alimony attorneys online or call 704-512-0619 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation.