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Spousal Support: Who Gets What, and For How Long?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Alimony & Spousal Support

When two people get married, they make a commitment to each other. However, what happens when one spouse decides to walk away from the marriage? Is the other left with nothing? In today’s blog post, we’ll be discussing spousal support and when it applies in a divorce.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support, also called alimony, is a payment from one ex-spouse to the other. The payments are made to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living after a divorce. The amount and duration of spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis by the court.

How is spousal support determined

In order for the court to even consider awarding spousal support, there must be a showing of need by the receiving spouse. This means that they cannot have enough income or assets to support themselves after the divorce. The paying spouse must also have the ability to pay spousal support.

What factors are considered in the determination of spousal support?

The court will look at a variety of factors when determining whether to award spousal support and how much the payments should be. Some of these factors include:

– The length of the marriage

– The age and health of both spouses

– The earning capacity of both spouses

– The standard of living during the marriage

– The contributions of each spouse to the marriage (including homemaking and child-rearing)

– The financial needs of each spouse

– The ability of each spouse to pay spousal support

– Any tax consequences of spousal support

How long does spousal support last?

In North Carolina, spousal support is typically awarded for a set period of time rather than indefinitely. The length of the award will depend on the couple’s individual circumstances.

Once the award has been made, it can be modified if there is a material change in circumstances. However, it is important to note that spousal support is not intended to be a lifelong “safety net.” Rather, it is meant to provide financial assistance during the transitional period after a divorce. As such, most awards will eventually expire, at which point each spouse will be expected to be self-supporting.

Modifications to spousal support orders

In some cases, spousal support may be modified after the divorce if there is a significant change in circumstances.

For example, if the spouse receiving support experiences a substantial increase in income, they may no longer need or be entitled to spousal support. Alternatively, if the spouse paying support loses their job or experiences a decrease in income, they may petition the court for a downward modification of their spousal support obligation.

If you are seeking a modification to your spousal support order, it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you navigate the legal process.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay Spousal Support?

If you have been ordered to pay spousal support and you fail to do so, there can be serious consequences.

The first step is for your ex-spouse to file a motion with the court that issued the original order.

If the court finds that you have willfully failed to pay support, they can hold you in contempt of court. This means that you could be fined and/or imprisoned.

In addition, the court may order wage garnishment or attach a lien to your property. If you are having difficulty making payments, you should contact your ex-spouse and/or the court as soon as possible to avoid these penalties.

Nervous about Spousal Support in Wake County?

When it comes to divorce, one of the most stressful aspects can be worrying about spousal support. Will you have to pay it? How much will it be? Will you be able to afford it?

If you’re going through a divorce in Wake County, North Carolina, the best thing you can do is talk to an experienced family law attorney.

Richard Gantt has been helping people with their divorces for over 20 years, and he knows the ins and outs of spousal support in North Carolina.

He’ll be able to explain the law to you and help you understand what you can expect. He’ll also work hard to get you the best possible outcome in your divorce, whether that means negotiating a fair settlement or fighting for your rights in court.

If you’re getting divorced in Wake County, don’t go through it alone. Call Gantt Family Law today.