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What Are The Different Types Of Alimony In North Carolina?


Spousal support is a term used to describe the different types of alimony paid by one spouse to another spouse during and after a divorce. In North Carolina, we have two different types of alimony that the court may award during a divorce proceeding. In order for a spouse to receive alimony, the court must determine that the spouse is a “dependent spouse” as defined by North Carolina law.

Under NCGS §50-16.1A, a dependent spouse is “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.”

Quick Facts About Types of Alimony in North Carolina:

  • Alimony payments are tax deductible for the spouse paying alimony and taxable income for the dependent spouse receiving alimony.

  • North Carolina has two different types of alimony: post-separation support and alimony.

  • Marital misconduct can significantly affect the award of alimony.

  • Illicit sexual behavior can be grounds for denying alimony.

Unlike our Child Support Guidelines, North Carolina does not have a set of “alimony guidelines” that specify a formula to be used when determining the amount of alimony to be paid. Determining whether alimony is justified and the amount of alimony to be paid is a complex and often highly contested matter that requires the assistance of an experienced Jacksonville alimony attorney.

Types of Alimony: Post Separation Support versus Alimony

The first of the two types of alimony available in North Carolina is Post Separation Support or temporary alimony. Post Separation Support is money paid to the dependent spouse during the divorce proceeding. Spouses can voluntarily agree to this type of alimony or it can be ordered by the court. Post Separation Alimony automatically ceases upon a final order of the court awarding or denying alimony.

Alimony is the second type of spousal support available in North Carolina. Spouses can voluntarily enter an agreement regarding alimony or waive alimony altogether. Alimony is paid for a specific period after the final divorce is granted and is typically paid per month but it can be paid in a lump sum. The amount and duration of alimony payments depend on several factors. Regardless of the amount or duration of alimony ordered, the spouse paying alimony can petition the court for a modification of spousal support if the spouse has a change of circumstances.

Judges have wide discretion in awarding alimony but, when making a decision, judges must consider all relevant factors including but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage;

  • Any marital misconduct;

  • The education level, ages, physical health, mental health, and emotional condition of both parties;

  • The earning capacity and relative income of both parties;

  • Whether one party contributed to the training, education, or career of the other spouse that increased that spouse’s earning potential;

  • The sources and amount of unearned and earned income and the assets and debts of both parties;

  • The standard of living during the marriage;

  • Custody arrangements and how those affect the earning capacity of each party;

  • Contributions of one spouse as a homemaker;

  • Tax ramifications of alimony for both parties;

  • Property brought into the marriage by both parties; and,

  • Any other economic factor that is relevant to the decision of alimony.

Jacksonville Family Law Attorneys Can Help You With Both Types of Alimony in North Carolina

“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”

The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm represents clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County, and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459  or contact us online today for a free confidential consultation with a qualified North Carolina family law attorney. If you are considering a divorce action, we can help you understand your rights regarding both types of alimony and other issues related to your divorce action.