Spousal Support in NC
The two types of spousal support are postseparation support and alimony. Postseparation Support is usually temporary in nature. Alimony can either be temporary or permanent. For the court to award spousal support the Judge must first find that during the marriage one spouse was the dependent spouse and one spouse was the supporting spouse. Upon this finding then an examination of the income and expenses of each party are used to determine if the supporting spouse has excess income to fill the budget shortfall of the dependent spouse. The amount and duration are totally up to the trial Judge. Attorney fees are also in the discretion of the judge, but are often awarded if spousal support is awarded.
Marital fault can also be a consideration in North Carolina when determining the amount and duration of spousal support. Infidelity can act as a complete bar to alimony for the dependent spouse. Proving infidelity is not always cut and dry and may require the use of a private investigator to gather evidence to be used in Court. Unlike child support there is no calculator for determining spousal support, but an often quoted rule of thumb on duration is that alimony is awarded for half the duration of the marriage. That being said many courts are beginning to move away from long term alimony except in the rare occasions where one spouse simply has no ability to work to make enough money to maintain a reasonable standard of living.