Is Alimony Permanent in North Carolina?

If you are going through a divorce in the Charlotte region, one of the most important questions you might have is whether your alimony will last forever. You may be ready to begin a new chapter of your life, and it is never easy to accept that the consequences of your failed marriage will follow you around indefinitely. Even if you have a high net worth and a steady stream of income, it often just does not make sense to continue to provide your former spouse with income for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, courts in the Mecklenburg County area share this opinion in many cases. Spouses are generally not forced to continue making alimony payments for the rest of their lives if this is obviously unfair to the paying spouse. However, it is also important to understand just how alimony is evaluated in North Carolina, and how the courts actually approach this important decision.

To give yourself the best chance of a positive legal outcome, you need to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced divorce attorney. We will work to help you minimize alimony payments so that you can continue on with your life without being dragged down by needless financial obligations. The best strategy is to hire an attorney who has experience in high-net-worth divorces and high-conflict separations.

Alimony Can be Permanent in North Carolina

The truth is that under certain circumstances, alimony payments can go on indefinitely in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is one of the last states to allow permanent alimony, along with a handful of others. Florida is one of the latest states that has introduced legislation to end permanent alimony, and it is expected that many others will follow over the next few years. That being said, there is no sign that North Carolina will end this practice any time soon.

Although permanent alimony is legal in the Tar Heel State, it only happens under certain circumstances. One of the most common reasons that a spouse might be awarded permanent alimony is if they are very old when the marriage ends. It is assumed that the dependent spouse can no longer support themselves at this advanced age, and so they are awarded alimony for the rest of their lives. A dependent spouse may also be awarded permanent alimony if they are disabled when the marriage ends because it is assumed they cannot support themselves, either.

Alimony payments may continue indefinitely under slightly more normal circumstances. For example, a spouse may have abandoned a promising future career in order to stay home and raise the kids. Fast forward 20 years, and it becomes very difficult for that spouse to ever regain the kinds of opportunities that they once had. If the marriage ends at this point, the dependent spouse might successfully argue that they sacrificed their own earning capacity for the good of the marriage. In this case, they may be awarded long-lasting or permanent alimony.

Factors That Impact Alimony

The exact amount and length of alimony payments are determined based on a number of factors. If you are wondering how long your alimony payments will continue, one of the most important things to consider is the length of the marriage. If the marriage only lasted a few years, alimony will likely not be a major issue. The courts will likely believe that a dependent spouse did not sacrifice enough of their time and energy to have a long-lasting impact on their earning capacity.

There are a few other factors that you should keep in mind. Marital misconduct can impact alimony, and anyone who engaged in infidelity usually gets the short end of the stick when it comes to these payments (either being barred from receiving alimony or being forced to pay more than usual). You also need to consider who is the custodial parent, as the courts believe that caring for a child reduces a parent’s ability to work and earn income.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have the skills and resources to help you through this difficult time, and we can assist you as you try to minimize your alimony payments. You need a dependable lawyer on your side for this legal battle. Reach out and book your consultation at our offices in Charlotte today.