On a regular basis, I hear from my clients the scenario that one of the spouses is staying at home for any number of reasons. It could be that the recession of 2008 hit the family pretty badly and one spouse lost his or her job. It could be that employer of one of the spouses shifted the positions and effectively eliminated a position and the same position is not readily available at another company. Or it could be that an accident or medical ailment afflicted one spouse, necessitating time away from the job. Regardless of the reason, a household goes from two working spouses to only one spouse.
This is life and the various circumstances are usually understandable. And generally, couples are able to power though such difficulties to ensure financial stability and a comfortable lifestyle for both spouses. However, what is the impact of this situation should either person want a divorce? The question asked by a number of my clients: if one spouse is working and the other is not, will financial support for the non-working spouse be required? The answer is yes, it is possible that the working spouse will need to provide spousal support for the non-working spouse.
Whether the reason is voluntary unemployment, a stay-at-home parent situation, or simply laziness, should the courts find that one spouse is a dependent spouse and the other spouse is the supporting spouse then there will likely be a spousal support situation. Various factors come into a court’s decision when deciding whether and how much spousal support is appropriate, such as the length of marriage, the ability to work of the non-working spouse, the total household income, monetary gifts to either or both spouses, whether there are children involved, etc.
Please note: North Carolina does not have a calculator for determining the amount of the spousal support to be paid or the duration for which the alimony is to be ordered. Each court in each county have some predictable practices; however, at the end of the day the exact amount and duration will be a number chosen by the judge. It must be noted, the longer the non-working spouse stays at home and the more time that passes before the spouses separate, the stronger the case for spousal support becomes. If you are thinking of a divorce and find yourself in a similar situation, do not wait any longer to contact a family law attorney in your area.