Alimony/Spousal Support in North Carolina Divorce

Not all cases involve support of one spouse by the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially, for a temporary or permanent basis, is made on a case-by-case basis as agreed by the parties, or, if the parties are unable to decide between themselves, at the Court's discretion.

In determining the amount, duration, and type of spousal support, the Court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

  1. 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 date of separation;
  2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
  3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
  4. 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;
  5. The duration of the marriage;
  6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  7. 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;
  8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
  9. 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;
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  13. The relative needs of the spouses;
  14. The federal, state, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
  15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the Court finds to be just and proper;
  16. 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.

Tax Planning and Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony Payments

Federal taxes must be paid on spousal support/maintenance/alimony in the year it is received. If taxes are not withheld, it is possible you will be required to pay taxes when filing quarterly returns. For those who pay maintenance under a divorce agreement, the payments may be deductible if certain requirements are met. Note that any payments you make to your spouse that are not required by agreement or decree, are not deductible as maintenance payments. You should always consult with a tax professional before agreeing to a settlement amount to ensure the most beneficial tax treatment possible.

Source: IRS PUB 504 Divorced or Separated Individuals.

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