Alimony

Alimony is a common term associated with divorce, but the truth is it is very misunderstood. Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is not as common as it once was. Often, alimony is intended to permit a non-working spouse to enter the work force or achieve a higher level of education. Of course, every case is different, and there are cases in which permanent alimony is appropriate. We also assist in modifications to an existing alimony award should circumstances change and an adjusted is needed. Payments can be made to both men and women.  It is typically awarded where one spouse did not work during the marriage and has little earning capacity, or where one spouse earned significantly more and the couple enjoyed a high standard of living. Details of any alimony claim are important, and so is having an effective family law firm in Raleigh like Fresh Start Family Law – lawyers that can assist in crafting your case.

Alimony Basics
Alimony applies when a couple is divorcing, and one spouse earns far less than the other from employment or personal wealth. The spouse earning far less is considered “dependent” on the spouse who makes more, i.e., supporting, to provide an amount of support after the separation. Adjusting to single life after a divorce is indeed a difficult component of separation in many instances, and one party may be required to contribute to the other during the transition. The disparity in the standard of living is central to the claim as well as the level of income or assets for either party. Fresh Start Family Law is here to help you consider if whether you are entitled to, or exposed to, an alimony obligation.

Alimony Amount
There is no standard formula for calculating the amount of alimony either divorcing party should receive, and it is a separate issue from child support. Determining the appropriate amount of alimony one should receive requires a thorough review of each party’s income and expenses. Fresh Start Family Law is well-versed in reviewing the financial documents necessary to asses a reasonable amount of alimony.

Alimony Duration
There is no standard time for how long a dependent spouse should receive alimony; however, the Court generally looks to the length of the marriage for some guidance. Other factors, such as marital misconduct, education and health of the parties are also important factors. Fresh Start Family Law is here to discuss all factors with a client to help determine a reasonable duration of alimony, whether the client be in need of the assistance or providing the assistance.

Absolute Divorce: An absolute divorce based on one year’s separation is North Carolina’s term for only the divorce (i.e., ending the marriage). Since North Carolina is a no fault state, either party may petition for a divorce once the parties have met the minimal requirement of staying separate and apart for at least a year and, at the time of physical separation, it was one party’s intent to physically separate for the purpose of ending the marriage.

Child Custody and Support: Child Custody and Child Support claims can, but do not have to, be filed along with an action for absolute divorce. Even if a couple divorces without one of these actions pending, the court can assist parents with custody and child support issues after they are divorced. For more information pertaining to Child Custody or Child Support, please click here (need link to page).

Post Separation Support and Alimony: Post Separation Support and Alimony claims (“Spousal Support”) can, but do not have to, be filed along with an action for absolute divorce. Unlike Child Custody and Child Support claims, however, once a divorce judgement is entered by the Court, it stops ends one’s ability to request the court’s assistance to receive Spousal Support. If you believe you may be entitled to Spousal Support and have been served with a complaint for divorce, please call the professionals at Fresh Start Family Law to assist you in protecting your rights.

Equitable Distribution: Equitable Distribution claims (“Property Division”) can, but do not have to, be filed along with an action for absolute divorce. Much like Spousal Support, however, once a divorce judgment is entered by the Court, it stops ends one’s ability to request the court’s assistance for property division. If you have marital assets and debts and they have not been addressed, but you were served with a complaint for divorce, please call the professionals as at Fresh Start Family Law today to assist you in protecting your rights.

Raleigh NC family attorneys help detail what each of these arrangements should look like based on their client’s wishes in preparation for submitting the divorce petition to the court.