Alimony, like marriage itself, has something of an interesting legal history in the United States. Once the law of the nation allowed for divorce, it was only permitted based upon misconduct by one of the spouses. If the husband was responsible for the misconduct which ended the marriage, then he would be required to uphold his financial obligations via alimony payments. If the wife, on the other hand, was guilty of the misconduct, then she would forfeit her right to financial support. In fact, some states still have laws on the books stating that if a wife is unfaithful to her husband, she may not receive alimony.
In the second half of the 20th century, no-fault divorces began to be allowed. As such, many states awarded alimony payments based upon which spouse was at fault for the marriage ending, continuing the older tradition. Today, as is the case in many other areas, not the least of which is the question of same-sex marriage, our views on alimony have matured and progressed. The marital fault, however, remains a sticking point that is more or less evenly divided as to how states approach the subject. In North Carolina, marital fault is still a factor to be considered in divorce cases, and LGBT divorces are no exception. If you are in the same-sex marriage that is ending and you think you may be entitled to alimony payments, you should consult with an LGBT alimony lawyer in North Carolina as soon as possible. LGBT alimony attorneys and lawyers may be able to help you understand the laws and how they work in this state, as well as the different types of alimony.
Since same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, it is essentially no different from any other kind of marriage, and that status extends to the laws regarding alimony, as well. However, the recent status of marriage equality means that some unique circumstances exist that can affect LGBT alimony lawyer’s jobs, even though the laws governing them are the same laws that any couple will be subject to.
How Can a North Carolina LGBT Alimony Lawyer Help Me Get Alimony Payments?
whether alimony payments are due, the court will consider the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the financial need, and the standard of living that the LGBT couple enjoyed together. LGBT alimony lawyers will work to assemble evidence in the form of ongoing bills and other documentation to help the court make the decision most favorable to you.
Once your divorce is finalized, alimony may be awarded if the court deems it is appropriate. Before this decision is made, the court considers a number of factors, including the following:
- Marital misconduct on the part of either spouse
- Earnings and earning ability of each spouse
- Age and physical, mental, and emotional health
- Sources of earned/unearned income for each spouse, including wages, dividends, and benefits including health insurance, retirement savings, and so on
- The length of time that the marriage lasted
- Contribution by one spouse to education or increasing the earning potential of the other
- The change in earning potential, financial obligations, and ongoing expenses after the divorce
- The standard of living
- Education, and the time necessary for each spouse to acquire sufficient training or additional education to enable the alimony seeker to find employment which meets his or her financial needs
- Assets and debts belonging to each spouse
- Property belonging to each spouse
- Contributions to the marriage in the role of homemaker
- Tax consequences of alimony
- Any other factor raised by the LGBT alimony lawyers which the court may deem to be just and proper
Illicit Sexual Behavior and LGBT Alimony Payments in North Carolina
If, during the marriage, either spouse is found to have engaged in illicit sexual behavior – that is, sexual contact with someone other than the spouse, it will certainly affect the alimony decision, and should be discussed with the LGBT alimony lawyers handling the divorce. These are difficult issues to discuss, but your North Carolina LGBT alimony attorney will ensure that you have a discrete and comfortable atmosphere in which to discuss these issues so that they can understand completely what happened. A dependent spouse who committed illicit sexual behavior may receive nothing, even if they would otherwise qualify for alimony. This is due to the aforementioned marital fault rules which have been in place since the creation of divorce law in this country. On the other hand, a spouse who may not have to pay alimony may be forced to do so if that spouse is found to have engaged in the illicit sexual behavior.
How Long Must a North Carolina LGBT Couple Be Married to Receive Alimony Payments?
In order to be legally considered financially dependent on a spouse, you and your LGBT alimony lawyer need to demonstrate that you have been married long enough to forgo additional employment or educational opportunities that you would have taken if you had been single. For this reason, marriages of a few years or less are more difficult to gain prolonged alimony awards. While some states have a minimum length of time, such as ten years, before alimony can be awarded, North Carolina has no such guidelines beyond the discretion of the court. As a result, it is important for you and your LGBT alimony lawyer to make the strongest case you can.
Calculating Alimony Payments with the Help of an LGBT Alimony Lawyer in North Carolina
In order to determine how much alimony you may be eligible to be paid, and for how long, you will find that the process is not very straightforward. Even experienced LGBT alimony lawyers in North Carolina will only be able to provide the broadest of estimates, due to the lack of clear guidelines in state law governing alimony payments. As a result, LGBT alimony attorneys obtain awards for their clients which vary dramatically from county to county, and even from one judge to another. Experienced LGBT alimony lawyers may be able to offer insight as to the tendency of a certain judge since they have likely argued a case before them in the past. This is another reason that it is so important for you to engage the services of an experienced LGBT alimony lawyer before proceeding.
North Carolina state law treats divorce among LGBT couples the same as any other couple, so no matter your gender, or who you are married to, you will enjoy the same access to alimony payments and spousal support as any other married couple. However, since same-sex marriage is a relatively new thing to North Carolina, and to the country in general, there are some considerations unique to these marriages. For example, since same-sex marriages tend to be shorter in duration, even for a couple who has lived together for years, this can result in smaller alimony payments.
Working With an LGBT Alimony Lawyer in North Carolina
As you proceed with your divorce, unless you had the forethought to obtain a prenuptial agreement, your assets and property obtained during the marriage will be divided more or less equally between each partner. However, since on average same-sex marriages are quite short in relation to the duration of the rest of the relationship, this 50/50 split is often not sufficient to cover housing, food, utilities, and other ongoing bills, especially for a spouse who was not working during the marriage or earned a significantly lower income.
Spousal support like alimony exists to ensure that any spouse who wishes to get a divorce can pursue that divorce without the need to worry about financial security. In cases where one spouse is financially dependent upon the other, often they feel they have no choice but to stay in the marriage, even though that marriage may be broken, abusive, or fraught with infidelity. If you are in this situation, contact an LGBT alimony lawyer today. Alimony laws in North Carolina allow you to walk away from your marriage while continuing to receive support, so you do not have to choose between your financial security and your physical or emotional health.
Schedule a Consultation with an LGBT Alimony Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you are in a same-sex marriage and are considering a divorce, LGBT alimony lawyers are ready to help you determine the best route forward. Any actual calculation of alimony payments depend on the unique situation and needs of both parties, but with the help of a skilled LGBT alimony lawyer, you can get yourself out of a situation which may be toxic, abusive, or simply dead, without worrying about how you are going to buy groceries or pay the rent.