All alimony cases are decided by a judge, not a jury. However, when marital misconduct has been alleged by either party, a party may request a jury trial on the issue of marital misconduct.
North Carolina Gen. Statute § 50-16.3A(b) sets forth a series of 16 factors to aid judges in determining alimony claims. Those factors are as follows:
- The marital misconduct of either of the spouses. Nothing herein shall prevent a court from considering incidents of post-date-of-separation marital misconduct as corroborating evidence supporting other evidence that marital misconduct occurred during the marriage and prior to the date of separation;
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
- The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
- The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
- The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
- The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
- The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
- The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- The relative needs of the spouses;
- The federal, state, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
- Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper.
- The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties’ marital or divisible property.
The judge must consider all relevant statutory factors for which evidence is offered, but it is within the scope of the judge’s authority to determine how much weight should be given to such factors based on the circumstances of the case and the evidence presented.
In deciding the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony, a judge is permitted to require alimony payments to be paid periodically, in a lump sum, or by property transfer. The most common method is for alimony to be paid directly to the recipient spouse on a monthly basis.
Alimony claims are usually determined after equitable distribution. This allows the court to consider how the marital estate was distributed between the parties in determining whether to award or deny alimony. This is because the division of the marital estate may impact both parties’ financial circumstances. For example, if a dependent spouse is awarded income-producing assets and an interest in a retirement plan, it may reduce the amount of alimony that he/she would need in the immediate term and in the future. Likewise, it may reduce income that might otherwise be available to the supporting spouse.
If you are a dependent spouse seeking support, or a supporting spouse defending against a claim for spousal support, the family law attorneys at Hopper Cummings can help. We can provide you with a candid assessment of the merits of your case, discuss options that are available, and ensure that your legal rights and interests are protected. We are committed to achieving client satisfaction through effective advocacy, and prompt and personalized client service.
Call us today at 919-533-4115, or complete our online form for a confidential consultation with one of our family law attorneys.
CONNECT WITH US
Client and Peer Reviews
Ms. Hopper was patient and detail oriented. ... Overall, the process was efficient, well-organized and painless. If you’re looking for someone to assist with your will and advance directives, we would highly recommend Hopper Cummings.
Seeing that Robert Cummings is going to be my opposing counsel in a family law case means that case is going to be fought fairly, efficiently, and intelligently, without expensive 'lawyer games' or undue delays. I have and will continue to refer cases to him.
My family has used Hopper Cummings for estate planning and wills as well as occasional legal advice. The process was always efficient, respectful, and individualized to our specific needs. This is the benefit of a local firm -- I highly recommend them for any civil law needs!
I refer all family law matters to Robert Cummings because I have confidence in the way he interacts with clients.
My husband and I worked with Marie Cummings and her team to complete our estate planning. This is not an easy task for anyone, and we so appreciated Marie's experience, expertise, patience, and support. ... We are happy to offer a wholehearted recommendation for Marie and her colleagues.
I came to Mr. Cummings during the most difficult time of my life. He helped me navigate the divorce process in a no-nonsense way. ... His voice of reason helped me to stay calm and focused on the task at hand. I highly recommend Mr. Cummings to anyone in my position.
Robert Cummings provides a firm, steady and calming approach to custody issues.
Robert is a highly effective attorney. I have referred several people to him and have heard nothing but positive experiences. He understands the law and cares about his clients.
We have worked with Hopper Cummings on several occasions, from estate planning to starting a 501(c)(4). They are welcoming and responsive. They explain things in easy-to-understand terms and set reasonable expectations. We highly recommend Hopper Cummings!
Robert Cummings represented a family member in a moving violation. He was responsive to all of my questions and very professional in explaining how the system worked and what needed to be done to help resolve the ticket with the best possible outcome. I would recommend his office and their services.
Robert and his team were amazing ... was successfully able to move the court date forward and have the ticket resolved and diligently e-mailed us all the confirmations as well. Thank you to his team and we would highly recommend them.
Robert understands traffic law and he is a very effective advocate for his clients. I have referred several clients to Robert and he always does a great job.
They made it easy and effortless for dealing with traffic court! I appreciate you all. Great communication too.
Great experience! I received my first moving violation in about 20 yrs .... called Hopper Cummings for assistance. The process from first contact to resolution went smoothly. Highly recommend!
Excellent Family Law Attorney.
Awesome lawyer worked hard to get the best outcome for me on a very complicated case. I would recommend Robert Cummings, he cared about my case and represented me very well. Would use him again.
Robert is an experienced, thoughtful and professional attorney. He exhibits the highest standards in his practice.
Robert was quick to return my call, even on a day he was in court. He was knowledgeable and friendly as was his staff. His honesty and hard work is definitely an asset.
Robert does a great job managing a large traffic law caseload yet representing each client zealously. He understands the local procedure for a large traffic caseload and navigates that system with ease.
Robert Cummings is an excellent attorney with a high level of integrity and compassion.