A court in North Carolina may take several factors into consideration when determining how much a person will be required to pay in spousal support. This determination usually happens after a decision is made about property division and other financial elements of the divorce.
The amount a person pays in alimony is not just about that person's ability to pay and what the spouse needs. A court may also consider how old both spouses are, how their health is, what their lifestyle is like, how long they have been married, whether the couple has minor children and what non-marital assets each person owns. Some alimony may only be awarded for a period of time that allows the spouse to return to school or train for a new job.
Couples may also want to consider whether the spousal support should be modifiable in case one of them has a significant financial change. The disadvantage of this is that it can be costly in both time and money to go back to court and get this modification. Spousal support generally only ends early if one person dies or if the recipient remarries. Some couples may agree on a life insurance policy that makes the recipient spouse a beneficiary in case the payer dies. Disability insurance or an annuity contract can also help ensure alimony is paid.
A person may want to consult a Piedmont Triad divorce blog for more general information on property division and other aspects of divorce. It is not uncommon for people to have a decrease in their standard of living after a divorce, so some people may be particularly concerned about protecting themselves financially. An attorney may be able to explain a person's rights, how property may be divided in a divorce and whether spousal support is likely.