People often stay in relationships because they are financially dependent upon their spouse, but this shouldn’t keep you from being happy and moving on with your life. If you’ve decided that a separation or divorce is best for you and your family, you may be entitled to spousal support, which can help you through this difficult time.

“I receive several calls each week inquiring about spousal support eligibility,” said Ballantyne-based spousal support lawyer, Thomas D. Bumgardner. “Every situation is unique, but I want to provide information in this blog to help those who are unsure if they are eligible to receive alimony from their partner.”

What is Alimony?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is the payment of money or assets from one spouse to another after a divorce or separation. The purpose of these payments are to protect those in the process of separation from suffering a drop in their standard of living.

Often times during a divorce, one spouse may take a sabbatical from work or furthering their education to help raise children or handle other household responsibilities. This may hinder your chance of rejoining the workforce. These are often the types of situations where alimony is needed most.

Misconceptions About Alimony

It is common misconception that alimony is awarded in the majority of divorce cases. This simply is untrue. A spouse is only required to pay support in an estimated 15% of all divorce cases.

Many believe that only women receive alimony in final divorce judgments. This is also untrue. In today’s society, many men work a lower-paying job than their wife, or they stay at home to raise children while their wife works to support the family financially. In divorce cases under these circumstances, men are often awarded alimony.

What Factors Affect Spousal Support Judgment in North Carolina?

A combination of the following factors will determine whether or not you are eligible to receive alimony.

  • Did you or your spouse engage in marital misconduct?
  • The amount of money you make each year.
  • The amount of money your spouse makes each year.
  • The financial situation of the person with custody of the children.
  • The physical and mental health of you and your spouse.
  • The amount of time you and your spouse have been married.
  • The amount of time it would take you or your spouse to receive an adequate amount of education or training to rejoin the workforce.

How “Illicit Sexual Behavior” Affects Alimony

North Carolina law defines “illicit sexual behavior” as any sexual acts committed with someone other than their marital partner. In cases where the person who would support their spouse has committed illicit sexual behavior, alimony is automatically awarded. In cases where the supported spouse commits these acts, alimony will not be awarded.

Ask Your Ballantyne Spousal Support Lawyer

In order to get a better idea of your eligibility, consultation with a knowledgeable attorney may be necessary. Ballantyne-based spousal support lawyer, Thomas D. Bumgardner, has years of experience handling North Carolina divorce and separation cases. Schedule a free consultation with us at 704-887-4981.