The family law attorney at familylawyernc.com can help you with your alimony issue.
Alimony is “comprised of two separate inquiries.” Barrett v. Barrett, 140 N.C. App. 369, 371, 536 S.E.2d 642, 644 (2000). The trial court’s first determination [is] whether a party is entitled to alimony.” Id. If the trial court determines that a party is entitled to alimony, then a second determination is made as to the amount of alimony to be awarded. Id.
Entitlement to alimony is governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-16.3A(a). A party is entitled to alimony if three requirements are satisfied:
(1) party seeking alimony is a dependent spouse;
(2) the other party is a supporting spouse; and
(3) an award of alimony would be equitable under all the relevant factors.
(1) A “dependent spouse” is one “who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-16.1A(2) (2019).
(2) A supporting spouse means “a spouse, whether husband or wife, upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for maintenance and support or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support.” N.C.G.S. § 50-16.3A(5). Evidence that “one spouse is dependent does not necessarily infer the other spouse is supporting,” Williams v. Williams, 299 N.C. 174, 186, 261 S.E.2d 849, 857 (1980). “A surplus of income over expenses is sufficient in and of itself to warrant a supporting spouse classification.” Barrett, 140 N.C.App. at 373, 536 S.E.2d at 645.
In “determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors including, inter alia, the following: marital misconduct of either spouse; the relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses; the ages of the spouses; the amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses; the duration of the marriage; the extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse are affected by the spouse’s serving as custodian of a minor child; the standard of living of the spouses during the marriage; the assets, liabilities, and debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support; and the relative needs of the spouses.Hartsell v. Hartsell, 189N.C. App. 65, 69, 657 S.E.2d 724, 727 (2008).
The parties’ needs and expenses for purposes of computing alimony should be measured in light of their accustomed standard of living during the marriage. Barrett, 140 N.C. App. at 372, 536 S.E.2d at 645. “While the court must consider the needs of the spouse seeking alimony in the context of the family unit’s accustomed standard of living, it also must determine that the supporting spouse has the financial capacity to provide the support needed therefor.” Whedon v. Whedon, 58 N.C. App. 524, 527, 294 S.E.2d 29, 31 (1982).