How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?
Alimony, also known as spousal support or post-divorce support, is a payment or series of payments made from one former spouse to the other. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that the recipient has the financial resources needed to maintain a lifestyle similar to the one they had when they were married and allow them time to achieve financial independence.
North Carolina looks at a wide variety of factors in determining both the amount and duration of an alimony award. These include the proposed recipient’s financial needs, earning capacity, age, health, fault associated with the marriage ending, contributions made to enhance the couple’s financial position during the marriage and efforts in raising children. Factors such as the length of the marriage and the existence of other dependents are considered as well. The courts also evaluate the paying spouse’s financial position and projected earnings.
In most cases, alimony is supposed to be temporary. However, under certain circumstances alimony may be awarded for life. For example, if the recipient spouse is too old to reasonably seek employment, then alimony may be permanent. Similarly, if the recipient spouse is disabled or has a chronic illness that prevents them from working, alimony could be ordered on a permanent basis.
Alimony payments can also be set to terminate upon a certain occurrence. Oftentimes, alimony ends if and when the recipient spouse remarries or enters into a long-term romantic relationship. Sometimes alimony ends when the recipient completes their education. Alimony can also end if there is a substantial change in circumstances in the recipient’s financial position, such as a large increase in income from employment or receipt of a large sum of money or other property as an inheritance. If you are unsure about whether circumstances have shifted enough to justify an adjustment of alimony terms, you should explain your situation to a qualified divorce attorney.
Located in Asheville, The Moore Law Office, PLLC is one of western North Carolina’s most respected law firms, advocating for potential paying and recipient spouses in disputes over alimony. If you have a domestic relations matter, feel to contact us or call 828-333-4796 for an initial consultation.