How the court decides to award alimony in divorce

Griffin Law, PLLC
Nov 04, 2019

During a divorce in North Carolina, the couple splits all assets, but sometimes one spouse still needs monetary support after the divorce finalizes. The court does not always grant alimony. Instead, the court looks at certain factors to determine length, amount and if a spouse receives the support.

According to, the court considers a variety of factors to determine if a spouse receives alimony and how much. The court evaluates the couple’s standard of living, length of the marriage and marital conduct. Then the financial capabilities of each spouse undergo evaluation including debts, assets, liabilities, property, contributions to earning power improvement, spousal needs, sources of income and tax consequences.

The court wants to be sure the spouse who receives alimony does not have an added burden for receiving the additional income. Additional factors may be used should the court deem them necessary. Having an affair can make a spouse ineligible or negatively affect any awarded alimony they may otherwise be entitled to.

The North Carolina Legislative statute 50-16.3A states that “either party may move for alimony.” Using many of the above criteria, the court determines alimony with few exceptions. Whether denied or awarded, the court states the reason unless there is a motion requiring special findings of fact.

However, marital misconduct issues can go before a jury trial rather than just the judge. Beware that the jury may find one or both parties guilty of marital misconduct in a trial. Should one spouse condone the other spouse to engage in illicit sexual behavior, the court does not consider those behaviors in making an alimony decision.

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