In North Carolina, alimony statute is governed by Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Alimony may be awarded based on various factors, including the dependent spouse’s financial needs, the supporting spouse’s ability to pay, and the duration of the marriage. It’s crucial to review the specific sections of Chapter 50 or consult with a legal professional for detailed and current information on alimony statutes in North Carolina.
Chapter 50, Divorce and Alimony, North Carolina General Statutes § 50-16.3A. Alimony
1. Right of Entry
Either party may request alimony in a case initiated under Chapter 50 of the General Statutes. Once it has been determined that one spouse is dependent on the other, that awarding alimony is equitable, and that all pertinent criteria, including those listed in this section’s paragraph (b) have been taken into account, the court will make the award to the dependent spouse. The court will not grant alimony if it determines that the dependent spouse engaged in unlawful sexual behavior, as that term is defined in G.S. 50-16.1A(3)a., both throughout the marriage and either before or on the date of separation.
The court will order alimony to be given to a dependent spouse if it determines that the supporting spouse engaged in illegal sexual behavior, as that term is defined in G.S. 50-16.1A(3)a., at some point during the marriage and before or on the date of separation. After taking into account all the circumstances, the court will decide whether to award or deny alimony if it determines that both the supporting spouse and the dependent engaged in illegal sexual behavior at some point during the marriage and before or on the separation date. The court will not take into account any act of unlawful sexual activity committed by either party and approved by the other.
Before an equitable distribution decision is entered, the alimony claim may be examined on its merits. If alimony is granted, the court may evaluate the claim after it has concluded to determine its amount and whether one spouse is the supporting or dependent spouse.
2. Amount and Duration
The court shall exercise its discretion in determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony. The duration of the award may be for a specified or for an indefinite term. In determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:
1. One spouse’s immorality during the marriage. Nothing in this clause would prohibit a court from taking instances of marital misconduct that occurred after the separation date as supportive evidence for additional allegations that the misconduct happened during the marriage and before the separation date
2. The spouses’ respective incomes and earning potential
3. The spouses’ ages as well as their psychological, emotional, and physical states
4. The total and sources of both spouses’ earned and unearned income, including but not restricted to earnings, dividends, and benefits such social security, health insurance, retirement, and insurance
5. How long the marriage has lasted
6. One spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s higher education, training, or enhanced earning potential
7. The degree to which being the guardian of a minor child would impact a spouse’s income, expenses, or financial commitments
8. The lifestyle that the partners decided upon together during their marriage
9. How well educated one spouse is compared to the other, as well as how long it takes to become sufficiently educated or trained to allow the spouse asking for alimony to locate work that will fulfill their reasonable demands
10. The proportional amounts of each spouse’s assets and liabilities as well as the duties for each spouse to pay off debt, including support obligations under the law
11. Any belongings that either partner brought into the union
12. The spouse’s role as a housewife
13. The spouses’ respective needs
14. The impact of the alimony award on municipal, state, and federal taxes
2. Conclusions of Fact
If alimony is awarded, the court must explain why it was granted, together with the reason(s) for the amount, length, and mode of payment. In cases where evidence is presented on any of the factors listed in subsection (b) of this section, the court is required to make a specific finding of fact. This is except from when there is a motion for summary judgment, judgment on the pleadings, or another motion for which the Rules of Civil Procedure do not require special findings of fact.
3. Asking for a Jury Trial
Any spouse may ask for a jury trial in the alimony claim regarding the matter of marital misconduct as that term is defined in G.S. 50-16.1A. The jury will make a decision if a jury trial is sought, whether one spouse or both have proven marital wrongdoing will be decided by the jury.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony Statute
1. What factors does the North Carolina alimony statute consider when determining eligibility for alimony?
The North Carolina alimony statute considers factors such as the duration of the marriage, financial needs of the dependent spouse, the supporting spouse’s ability to pay, and other relevant circumstances.
2. Is alimony mandatory in North Carolina divorces?
No, alimony is not mandatory. The court decides on alimony based on the specific facts of each case and the financial circumstances of the parties involved.
3. Can the duration of alimony be modified in North Carolina?
Yes, under certain circumstances, the duration of alimony can be modified. Changes in financial situations or other significant life events may warrant a modification, subject to court approval.
4. How does the court determine the amount of alimony in North Carolina?
The court considers various factors outlined in the statute, such as the standard of living during the marriage, financial resources of each party, and the contribution of each spouse to the marriage when determining the amount of alimony.
5. Are prenuptial agreements considered in alimony decisions in North Carolina?
Yes, prenuptial agreements can be considered. If a valid prenup exists and addresses alimony, the court may take its terms into account when making alimony decisions.
6. Can alimony be terminated or modified if circumstances change?
Yes, alimony orders can be terminated or modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances, as determined by the court.