When you and your spouse choose to divorce in Wilmington, you might automatically assume that you are entitled to alimony. This likely comes from the assumption that the awarding of alimony is largely a punitive measure. While state law does account for that to a certain degree, the actual purpose of alimony is help support you until you are able to support the same standard of living you enjoyed while married on your own.
Yet before you can be awarded alimony, the state must recognize you as a dependent spouse. Generally speaking, a dependent spouse is considered to be one that makes less than his or her significant other. Even if you are a dependent spouse, the court will still consider a number of other factors before deciding if your soon-to-be ex-spouse should pay you alimony. According to North Carolina’s state statutes, these include:
- How long you were married (and the standard of living you both achieved together)
- Your earnings or earning capacity, along with your taxes and liabilities, as well as how your earning capacity would be affected if you were to be given primary custody of your children
- Your contributions as a homemaker (or other sacrifices you may have made to support your spouse’s career)
- The property and assets you brought into the marriage
- Your age, along with your physical, mental and emotional health, and your relative needs
Marital misconduct is also considered when awarding alimony. If your spouse was proven to be unfaithful to you during your marriage, you may automatically be awarded alimony. On the other hand, if it is shown that you were unfaithful, you may be disqualified from receiving any alimony benefit.