If you’re in the process of getting divorced, one of the issues that could be keeping you up at night is alimony. Charlotte divorce lawyers meet with clients all the time who ask what they can expect when it comes to spousal support. The truth is that the judges in North Carolina have a lot of discretion when it comes to alimony.
There is no formula like there is with child support. If your spouse was the breadwinner in the family, you can expect to receive some sort of alimony. However, the amount and duration will depend on several factors. When you meet with your Charlotte divorce lawyer for the first time, they can give you a better idea of what to expect.
Charlotte Divorce Lawyers Understand That Nobody Is Ever Guaranteed Alimony
When it comes to alimony, there’s never a guarantee that you’ll receive a certain amount. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could get a high amount or nothing at all. Of course, there are not many cases where the lesser-earning spouse received nothing. However, the judge may decide that you can support yourself and that you’re not in need of the money. Or they may feel that your conduct prior to the divorce makes it unlikely that you’d be entitled to any support.
The Court Will Consider Several Factors in Determining Spousal Support
With child support, your Charlotte divorce lawyer can plug some numbers into a software program and tell you almost to the penny what you’ll be ordered to pay. However, with alimony, it is quite different. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:
- How long you were married
- How much each of the parties earns
- The educational background of both spouses
- What the standard of living was prior to the divorce
- The ability to pay
- The reasonable needs of the lesser earning spouse
- Any marital misconduct on the part of either spouse
Depending on your personal situation, your Charlotte divorce lawyer can estimate what you may be entitled to. They’ll reach out to your spouse’s attorney and try to negotiate something that is fair to both parties. If this isn’t possible, the court will order the two of you to go to mediation to try to resolve the issues.
One Important Factor Will Be Income
In some marriages, only one spouse works. Perhaps you were at home taking care of the children while your husband worked. Or it could be a scenario in which you and your spouse earned about the same. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t expect to get all that much in the way of alimony. In fact, if you have the same or a higher income than your spouse, you likely will not get any spousal support. If you earn more than your spouse, there’s a chance you may be ordered to pay them support instead.
Do the Ex-Spouses Have Similar Educational Backgrounds?
One important factor the judge will look at is the educational background of the parties. Even if you aren’t currently working, the judge will argue that, with your educational background, you should be able to earn a certain amount of money. For example, if you have your nursing license but chose not to work during the marriage, that was your prerogative.
However, the judge will impute a salary to you commensurate with how much nurses in your area are earning. If nurses in Charlotte are making $80,000 per year, the judge will presume you can earn a similar amount. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you a few months to get back into the workforce. After that, alimony may be terminated. If, on the other hand, you went no further than high school, the judge may feel you need a substantial amount of alimony to support a reasonable standard of living.
Is There an Actual Need for Support?
Just because you want alimony doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Unless your Charlotte divorce lawyer can convince the judge (or mediator) that you need the money, your chances of getting it will be slim. You should expect to justify your monthly expenses and need before the judge will order any kind of spousal support.
Your Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Can Give You a Clearer Answer When You Meet
Getting divorced can be scary and expensive. If your Charlotte divorce lawyer is able to settle the alimony issue with your spouse’s attorney, it could save you money and a headache down the road. Call today and set up a time to meet with one of our skilled divorce attorneys.