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Am I Entitled to Alimony or Will I Be Obligated to Pay?

Alimony, often referred to as spousal support, varies widely based on the state that you live in. Here are some key points regarding alimony laws in North Carolina.

Dependent Spouse Contrary to the past, the gender of the dependent spouse is irrelevant in awarding alimony. The court must only find that either one spouse is “substantially dependent” on the other, or that one spouse is “substantially in need of” of support.

  • Substantially Dependent – When one spouse has an actual dependence on the other spouse in order to maintain the standard of living to which he or she has become accustomed to over the past few years, the court will find that the spouse is substantially dependent on the other.

  • Substantially in Need – Where the dependent spouse would not be able to maintain his or her accustomed standard of living without the financial contribution of the other, the court will find that the dependent spouse is substantially i

n need of support from the other spouse.

Adultery and Alimony The alimony standards often change when one, or both, spouses committed an “illicit sexual act” during the course of the marriage. These changes depend both on who committed the illicit sexual act, the receiving spouse and/or the paying spouse, and how the actions were dealt with.

  • A receiving spouse that committed an illicit sexual act during the marriage will not receive alimony,

  • A paying spouse that committed an illicit sexual act during the marriage shall pay alimony,

  • If both the receiving spouse and the paying spouse committed an illicit sexual act during the marriage, the court has discretion to decide whether alimony will be awarded, and

  • If the illicit sexual act committed by either spouse was condoned, the court will treat it is if it had never taken place.

Duration and Termination of Alimony Some of the factors that are considered to determine the duration of payments are: the debts and assets of the spouses, the accustomed standard of living, the duration of the marriage, and the earnings (total income plus any other source of funds) and the earning capacities (amount that could be earned based on skills and education) of the spouses.

Alimony payments can be ordered to terminate based on either an indicated termination date or by a certain event such as the remarriage, or continued partner cohabitation, of the dependent spouse or the death of either party.

Taxes Alimony is deductible by the paying spouse and reported as income by the dependent spouse, so long as:

  1. The payments are in cash;

  2. The payments are made incident to divorce or to a separation agreement;

  3. The parties have not designated the payments as non-alimony;

  4. The parties are not living in the same household; and

  5. The paying spouse has no liability for payment after death of the receiving spouse.

Those were just a few key points concerning alimony laws in North Carolina. Alimony doesn’t have to be a stressful and confusing topic. Contact an attorney at Stiles Law to make sure your rights are protected.

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