Alimony for spouse not working but looking for job....earns same or more than I do historically

My STBX is currently unemployed and looking for work. She stopped working as a consultant in January and hasn’t had any luck in finding either new consulting work or a permanent position (but I know she is looking). I have continued to support her as best I can since the separation in February but she has asked me to stop as she is quite proud and doesn’t want “charity” (note: I left her and no infidelity is involved on either side). I am not sure that she will ask for alimony (for the same reason), but I want to plan for it if needed.

My questions are as follows:

  • Historically, she has made the same or more than I do. Would that be factored into the calculation or is based on current conditions?
  • Should I work in an expectation to her that she find a job within a certain period of time which would then lower any amount of alimony?
  • In the past, she has jumped ship on jobs before. Could alimony go up and down based on that?
  • As we work towards a separation agreement, could any or all of the above be simply a part of negotiations between us and how we work it out?
  • If a separation agreement is signed before the divorce filed for, does that negate the need for any court order?

Thanks for the help!

  1. She could be considered a dependent spouse at this time (while in between jobs) if she is actually and substantially dependent on you for her accustomed standard of living. If so, alimony could be ordered but yes, her earning potential, education, amount of time out of the workforce, etc. are taken into consideration when determining an alimony amount.

  2. Setting a deadline or period of time for her to find new employment will not affect alimony amounts.

  3. Yes, switching jobs could be considered a basis for alimony to change, but not always. Alimony can only be modified if there is a change in circumstances (if included in a court order) or by mutual agreement (if included in a separation agreement and the terms are modifiable).

  4. Yes, all of these considerations can be used when negotiating the terms of a separation agreement.

  5. Yes, if you and your wife agree and execute a separation agreement before filing for an absolute divorce, there will be no need for a court order or other court involvement (other than for the absolute divorce) assuming all issues are fully resolved in the separation agreement.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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Thank you! This was helpful. :slight_smile: