Alimony expectations


Hi, I’m in the early stages of a collaborative divorce. I’m wanting to have a reasonable expectation of alimony before we get to that part of the agreement. We have two young children. We both have master’s degrees. We both have worked in our career for the past 15 years. She typically has to work about 60 hours a week, while I am on a standard 40. I make about 90k and she makes about 60k pre divorce. After divorce she will have to reduce her hours because she insists on primary custody of the kids. Her income will likely drop to about 45k. I’ve used the calculators for estimated child support. The alimony calculators bring up very wildly different results based on the different methods. Is there one method that is popular in NC?

Given our uninterrupted work history is she likely to get alimony just based on the fact she’s in an industry that doesn’t pay well, even for a high level of education? I in no way restricted her ability to earn, she choose her industry.

What is a typical duration for alimony? 3 years, 5 years? Surely not for life right?



North Carolina has no set formula for determining alimony. Instead, North Carolina uses 16 factors when making an alimony award and to determine the amount and duration. I’ve included a link at the end of this post for the 16 factors.

As you’ve seen, our alimony calculator uses different methods used by other states. North Carolina does not use any of those methods, so there is no method that is more popular or more frequently used.

When determining alimony in your situation, your wife’s income and ability/education will be considered in an alimony award but the fact that she’s working in a low-paying industry despite a high level of education will not be the only factor considered.

There must be a supporting spouse and a dependent spouse before alimony can even be awarded. A dependent spouse is “actually substantially dependent” on his/her spouse and would not be able to maintain his/her accustomed standard of living (from during the marriage) without financial help from the other spouse.

There is no typical duration of alimony but yes, it can last a lifetime, although we don’t see lifetime awards of alimony that often. Rather, alimony is awarded for a specified period of time depending on the 16 factors I mentioned above.

Check out our detailed article about alimony, which includes the 16 factors used to determine alimony: … -carolina/