Alimony & child support, how to determine amount

Your case sounds a little mine and because I was not allowed to spend the money of this high income wage earner, I got the bare minimum! In this regard, I understand that it’s probably better to spend, spend, spend in a marriage. Being frugal and hoping for early retirement was simply wasted and not considered. Since I didn’t “buy” expensive cars, but rather invested in stocks and CD’s, I was penalized. Now, I have no income to save! Hopefully, your case will turn out better. In a “fair” divorce, children are entitled to the good fortune of the high wage earner and this should be reflected in the amount of income your ex has. I only received 200.00 above the chart for the highest combined income. Ex’s income exceeds the cap on the child support chart of 240,000 year. He makes much more than that. So, now, at age 53, I must work the rest of my life and live a relatively minimal existence while the ex vacations 8 times per year, buys a house in an exclusive neighborhood,(I lost my house—couldn’t afford it any longer) maintains his country club lifestyle and is on track to retire in two years. Good luck to you! Surely your case will work out better than mine.

There is a lot of great information on this site about both of these issues.
NC has child support guidelines that are based on the income (from all sources) of both parents. If you joint income is over $300K than the amount of support can be adjusted above that. The amount does not vary from year to year because of changes in the age of the children, though you can address “extraordinary expenses” like medical,transportation, and private school as a part of support and can also negotiate for sharing some of the other expenses you mentioned. If you don’t ask, you probably won’t get these extra funds. If circumstances have changed (increased/decreased custody/visitation, child care costs, changes in income, medical insurance, etc) than either party can request a modification of support as long as the change is 15% either way. In NC once a child has turned 18 child support ends. If they have not graduated from high school then child support continues until they graduate or until they turn 20.
Your (ex) spouse has no obligation to pay for college unless the both of you work out this agreement.

Alimony is based on the standard of living during the marriage. That means they are going to look at your expenses and lifestyle during the marriage. They will then look at your spouses income and try to determine what amount of alimony he is able to pay. The amount he is able to pay may be less than what the court determines you need. Alimony is based on the expenses you have for yourself. Child support will be based on the guidelines and is separate from alimony.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

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Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


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I know the 16 factors used to determine if alimony is something that needs to be paid. That is a given. I am clearly dependent, havent worked for 20 years, my husband has had an affair, at least one, maybe other one night stands.

My question is how do they determine the amount of alimony? Is it only based on your basic needs, or is salary a consideration as well?

With child support I noticed another post that said that if salary had risen 15% or more you could request more child support? So is child support based on basic needs or on salary?

I have a high income case and I am not a big spender, and now I fear that I will not get that much support because I have not wasted money? Also, how do you adjust for your kids growing and needing more food, (boys aren’t teens yet), and increased school tutiton, laptops, proms? How are those adjusted for?

I am working with an attorney and they say it is just basic needs. But interestingly enough every other person I am talking(therapist, pastor, friends that have gotten divorced) to during this time feels that salary is a factor. I am not getting that message, do I have a good attorney?