Alimony and Spousal Support

If you are considering divorce or separation, or have been served with a divorce lawsuit, alimony may be a key and contested component of your case. Whether you think you may have to pay financial support, or are concerned you will need alimony payments to meet your needs, the family law attorneys at Bagwell Holt Smith P.A. can help. We are driven to obtain favorable results and financial peace of mind for our clients. We will negotiate alimony awards that make sense for our clients’ circumstances and, if necessary, advocate aggressively for them in court.

Unlike child support, there are no firm guidelines or calculators for alimony. Therefore, calculating a projected alimony obligation is best assessed on a case-by-case basis, which also takes into the account the current trends in your county.

North Carolina provides for two forms of spousal support, also known as alimony:

Post-separation support

This type of support is intended to be temporary and rehabilitative support. It is used to address the immediate and practical needs of a dependent spouse. Hearings are frequently short and marital fault generally plays less of a role.


Alimony is the more significant claim. It can be settled upon separation or tried following the finalization of absolute divorce. Alimony awards can range from several months to permanent terms. The amount and duration of an alimony award is based on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the relative standard of living enjoyed by both parties during the marriage, the parties’ needs and earning capacities, and the existence of marital misconduct.

We can answer your questions concerning spousal support, including the following:

  • What are the criteria for determining the amount and duration of post-separation support and alimony?
  • What is the typical duration of spousal support?
  • Is marital misconduct relevant to the spousal support analysis?
  • Is spousal support based on the parties’ actual or potential incomes?
  • Is cohabitating with a partner an absolute bar to receiving post-separation support?
  • Is spousal support typically made in periodic or lump sum payments?
  • Does spousal support typically include maintaining medical coverage for a spouse?
  • What defenses can be raised?
  • What is the effect of divorce on spousal support?
  • What are the tax consequences to both parties?
  • Will the Court order a party’s attorney’s fees to be paid by the other party?

Contact a family attorney at Bagwell Holt Smith P.A. if you are contemplating separation or divorce to discuss your legal options.