North Carolina alimony can be separate from property division, or it can be a part of a global settlement agreement whereby one spouse gets more property in exchange for payment of lifetime support to the other spouse.
Because this settlement has been “bargained for,” it means that the alimony integrated into this agreement cannot be terminated or modified.
Judges in North Carolina exercise discretion in determining alimony amounts, manner of payment, and duration under the umbrella of statute and case law.
The overall presumption on North Carolina alimony is the partnership theory of marriage, whereby the obligation to pay spousal support is based on the principle that both spouses have an obligation to support each other financially during the marriage.
Alimony is simply the continuation of this obligation after the parties have divorced. North Carolina’s alimony guidelines and their application are in need of an overhaul, though.
Consider this: If a dependent North Carolina wife is found to have participated in an act of illicit sexual behavior during her marriage, and prior to or on the date of separation, that wife is not entitled to alimony.
It gets even better: If a supporting spouse husband participates in an act of illicit sexual behavior during marriage, and prior to or on the date of separation, he or she is required to pay alimony to the dependent spouse.
Marriage as Permanent
All states have no-fault divorces. However, North Carolina is more of a hybrid-divorce state. It has the standard no-fault divorce causes of irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity.
Fault, though, can be found in the case of marital misconduct in the form of adultery.
Adultery in North Carolina is not a “generic” marriage problem in the eyes of its family courts.
The importance of proving adultery (when it exists) is a direct throwback to the days when marriage was deemed permanent. If a wife or husband cheated, the offending party was “punished.”
In earlier times, women in the U.S. didn’t usually work outside of the home after they got married. Marriage was their job. A woman relied solely on her husband’s income for support.
Sadly though, many judges still view women as helpless in the job arena – a prejudice for which ex-husbands in North Carolina pay dearly.
There are many other factors that influence the payment of alimony, including the mental and physical condition of both spouses, standard of living, assets, taxes, and more.
However, North Carolina alimony awards have not fallen into lockstep with changing demographics in the U.S.
North Carolina Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is a serious thing. To the extent you can save your marriage, you should. Of course, in some circumstances divorce is unavoidable. In either case, if you’re a man facing a crisis in your marriage, contact the domestic litigation firm of Cordell & Cordell for help.
This article’s author, Julie Garrison, has been writing articles and short stories for the past 10 years and has appeared in several magazines and e-zines.