Pittsboro Alimony Attorneys
Even after former spouses have divided their property and long after their children have grown up, alimony payments may still be a part of a divorced couple’s lives. Because a court can order that alimony be paid until one of the parties has died, it is often the most expensive part of a divorce.
Alimony can be vital for a dependent spouse who might have made career or educational sacrifices to advance the other partner’s career or to focus on raising a family. Because of this, the dependent spouse might never be able to attain the earning potential that might have been possible when the marriage began.
The supporting spouse can find bearing the obligation of alimony difficult, especially given the many years they may be required to do so. The dependent spouse may not be required to attempt to earn any other income, while the supporting spouse may have additional obligations that were previously undertaken by their former partner.
Due to these different perspectives, alimony can often be the most contentious and most important aspect of a divorce. If you are going through a divorce in which alimony plays a part, you’re the dependent or supporting spouse, it is vital that you have the support and guidance of a skilled divorce attorney on your side. The Pittsboro family law lawyers at Marshall & Taylor PLLC have the knowledge and experience to fight for your best interests and work to bring the process to a favorable resolution for you. Call us today at (919) 833-1040 for a consultation.
No Alimony Guidelines in North Carolina
One reason it is so helpful to have an experienced attorney on your side is that there are no “alimony guidelines” in the state of North Carolina. This means that, unlike child support, there are no presumptive amounts to be awarded and no codified limit based on the marriage’s length. As a result, alimony awards will differ dramatically from case to case.
The courts tend to take several factors into consideration when making determinations about alimony:
- Marital misconduct from either party
- Parties’ relative income and capacity to earn
- Parties’ ages and mental, emotional, and physical conditions
- Income (earned and unearned) and savings of both parties
- Length of marriage
- Support of one party to the training, education, or increased earning power of the other
- Financial impact on one party of raising a minor child
- Standard of living established while married
- Relative education of parties and potential for the dependent spouse to acquire sufficient education to find employment
- Parties’ relative assets, liabilities, and debt service requirements
- Property either party brought into the marriage
- Spouse’s contribution as a homemaker
- Parties’ relative needs
- Tax consequences of the alimony award
- Any other factor the court deems relevant to the economic circumstances of the parties
- The fact that the court previously considered the parties’ income to determine the value of marital/divisible assets
Part of what makes alimony decisions so complicated is that the court will consider all of the above factors, but none of these factors offers specific guidance about the duration or amount of the alimony it should award. Your lawyer will be able to give you an informed idea about what you should expect in your particular case.
The court is ultimately bound to make a decision about alimony in a way that is fair to both parties. This is, of course, a subject of much debate. However, an experienced divorce attorney will fight hard to protect your best interests and will see to it that the information the judge bases their decision upon is as fairly presented as possible.
Marital Misconduct: Illicit Sexual Behavior
Marital misconduct in the form of illicit sexual behavior is the one factor that will require the court to award or deny alimony. According to North Carolina state law, the court is mandatorily barred from awarding alimony to a dependent spouse who is found to have participated in an act of “illicit sexual behavior” (marital infidelity) “during the marriage and prior to or on the date of separation.”
Reciprocally, if the court finds that the supporting spouse has participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage and before the separation occurred, the court is required to order that alimony be awarded to the dependent spouse. Importantly, however, because no amount is specified, the court could technically award alimony of $1 per year and still have complied with the statute.
If both spouses have committed acts of illicit sexual behavior, the court will base the decision of alimony on the other factors, and neither act of infidelity will have a bearing on any specific award of alimony. Further, if one spouse condones or forgives the other’s act of illicit sexual behavior, the court will not be specifically required to award alimony based on that act.
It should also be noted that, if a party wishes, a jury can decide the issue of whether or not a spouse has committed an act of illicit sexual behavior. In such a situation, legal representation is essential.
Contact a Pittsboro Divorce Attorney Today
The issue of alimony is a consequential factor in divorce proceedings whether you are a supporting spouse, a dependent spouse, or somewhere in between. At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, we know how challenging it can be to understand the various factors involved, especially in addition to all the stresses that already arise when you’re going through a divorce. Fortunately, we are here to help. We can assist you with your negotiations for alimony, and we can prepare your case for trial if that becomes necessary.
Our award-winning Pittsboro family law attorneys have built a stellar reputation in North Carolina for protecting the best interests of clients and their families, and we are ready to bring our experience and commitment to excellence to your case as well.
Contact us today for a confidential consultation, and we can discuss your legal options. Call us now at (919) 833-1040.