Not at all. Whether or not you get alimony (“spousal support”) depends on your financial position in the marriage and whether it would be fair, under the circumstances, to grant alimony.
North Carolina’s alimony statute does not refer to spouses by their gender. It refers only to a “dependent spouse” and a “supporting spouse.” That means financially dependent and financially supporting. If you had roughly equal incomes, there might not be a dependent spouse and a supporting spouse at all.
Whether one spouse was dependent and the other financially supporting is a question for the judge. Only when the judge determines that one spouse was dependent and the other was supporting AND that it would be fair to order alimony, under the circumstances, can he or she order alimony.
Then, the judge still needs to decide how much the alimony should be and how long it should last. In general, the judge will decide the amount and duration considering whatever factors he or she finds relevant. However, the statute requires judges to consider 16 specific factors, some of which include:
• Any marital misconduct by either spouse
• The spouses’ relative earnings and earning capacities
• The spouses’ age and their physical, mental, and emotional conditions
• The duration of the marriage
• Whether one spouse contributed to the other’s education, training or increased earning power
• The contribution of one spouse as a homemaker
The effect of infidelity on alimony in North Carolina
One thing to consider when discussing alimony in North Carolina is that our statute denies alimony altogether to people who were unfaithful during the marriage unless their spouse was also unfaithful. If the spouse was also unfaithful, then the infidelity cancels out and the dependent spouse is again eligible to receive alimony.
“During the marriage” can include, at the judge’s discretion, any infidelity that occurred in the post-separation period when you had already decided to get a divorce. However, post-separation infidelity alone is not sufficient to disqualify a spouse from receiving alimony.
Furthermore, if the supporting spouse was unfaithful during the marriage, and the dependent spouse was not, the court is required to order alimony.
Whether you are interested in seeking alimony or you suspect you might be required to pay it, be sure to choose a compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile for you and your family.