Who pays alimony? Under what circumstances would a court award alimony? Isn’t alimony just for wives? Lisa Angel, a Board Certified Family Law Specialist, discusses the answer to all of your Alimony questions.
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The Alimony Secrets Video Seminar Transcript
Hi. I’m Lisa Angel. In this segment we’ll cover the law surrounding alimony in North Carolina.
First I’ll answer the question, how is someone in North Carolina entitled to alimony? What does a spouse need to prove in order for a court to award alimony? You should know that our alimony statute is gender-neutral. Husbands and wives can pay and receive alimony, and do every day in our court system.
Before you come to any agreement about alimony, you need to talk to a lawyer individually to make sure you have a good understanding of the ramifications of any agreement you come to. And please do check out all of the sections on our website related to alimony.
But first, let’s talk about how someone in North Carolina is entitled to alimony. What does he or she need to be able to prove? To be entitled to alimony you have to prove that you are a dependent spouse. In North Carolina, a dependent spouse is someone who is actually substantially dependent upon their spouse to meet their reasonable needs. As a practical matter, though, in our court, a dependent spouse is someone who makes less money than their spouse, regardless of whether they are the husband or the wife.
But for most people, that doesn’t answer the real questions: How much alimony and for how long? Those are the questions that we want answered. And the only guidance that the law gives the judge is a list of 15 factors for the court to consider. That statute and that list of factors are on the website.
The list includes just about anything that you can imagine: earning capacity, earning history, income and expenses of each spouse, debts and assets of each spouse. That list of factors also includes marital misconduct. Who did what to whom during the marriage can impact the amount of alimony and the term of how long someone receives alimony. Fault under our statute includes things like abandonment, adultery, physical/verbal abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse. These are all things that a judge can consider when awarding alimony.
One of the most difficult things about negotiating alimony settlements is that there are no formulas, no guidelines, no calculators to determine how much is the appropriate amount of alimony. Each judge in each individual case is allowed to make his or her own decision about the appropriate amount and length of alimony. So before you come to any agreement about alimony, you should talk to a lawyer in your own jurisdiction to make sure that the amount and duration is in line with what lawyers in that area think a judge may or may not do.
Once the alimony is awarded by a court, it will always end up on the death of either spouse or the remarriage or cohabitation of the person receiving alimony. When we negotiate alimony, we often include other time limits. You can negotiate many terms and provisions in an alimony agreement.
Another very important thing to take into account when you’re negotiating an alimony agreement is taxes. Alimony is taxable income to the person who receives the alimony and it’s a tax deduction to the person that pays alimony. Whereas child support is a non-taxable event; there are no tax consequences whatsoever with child support. So before you come to any agreement about alimony, you should take taxes into account. Make sure that you understand the amount you’ll be receiving or paying, net of taxes, to ensure it is an amount you can live with.
Take a look at other videos available on our website at Rosen.com. There are terrific resources for helping you decide how to proceed with your case.
Thank you for watching. I’m Lisa Angel with the Rosen Law Firm.