I agree with whichever attorney told you that you are NOT separated from your spouse so long as you are living in the same house (even though you are living in separate floors).
As for alimony, you are quite correct that there is no magic formula to be found in the North Carolina General Statutes for determining the length or amount of alimony payments. It is very much subjective and dependant upon the judge hearing the case and the pattern of the judges in the jurisdiction. The definition of supporting (and dependant) spouse are also subjective and are not nearly as simple as “does one party earn more than the other.” However, you indicate that you earn twice as much as your wife. I think that it is very likely that a judge would find that you were the supporting spouse during the marriage. Assuming that your wife is earning as much or more as she did during the marriage it is unlikely that a judge would find that she is suppressing her income in bad faith. Based on your disparity in income, I do believe that it is likely that a judge would order you to pay alimony payments.
As the for an estimate on amount and duration of alimony payments, I suggest that you defer to what your attorney advises you is the norm in your local courthouse. He or she should be able to give you a best and worst case scenerio range to consider before you make the decision to let a judge tell you what you are going to pay. Sometimes in my jurisdiction we make a ballpark estimate by calculating half of the difference in the gross monthly income (amount) for half of the term of the marriage (duration). The difference in your gross monthly income is $2,333 (1/2 is $1,166) and you have been married 19 years (1/2 is 9.5 years).
You should know that having to pay alimony isn’t a punishment. It’s not a reflection on anything that anyone did wrong (considering that you say there has been no marital misconduct by either party). It’s just an acknowledgement that you financially supported your family during a long marriage and that your wife is going to need some financial support for a while to establish herself professionally.
Robin F. Verhoeven
Attorney at Law
Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.
This Q&A is very similar to my situation. The one exception is that while my income comes from a job with a salary, while she has a small business. I earn almost all the money and my income is a steady salary with a predictable annual raise. Her small business is unpredictable. Usually it loses a few thousand dollars, other times it makes a few thousand. I contend that she could easily make much more if she would stop running the business full time and get a job. Even she agrees that she could get a job that paid more than three times her best ever year of running the business.
I do not believe she is intentionally suppressing income, she just is not good at running a business but will not quit.
Is it reasonably supported in law for me to calculate alimony on what we agree she could make with a job, or should I pay alimony based on her track record of earning almost nothing.
I do not believe your living situation constitutes living separate and apart and therefore you are not separated.
Based solely on the facts you posted below, it is likely your Wife will receive alimony. I cannot give you an opinion on the amount or duration without meeting with you personally The term supporting spouse means that you earn more income than your spouse and you have the ability to pay alimony.
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
301 McCullough Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044
Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.
Firstly, thank you all for giving your time and providing us with your wealth of knowledge!
I actually have an attorney, but often times I forget to ask several questions, and I think I need a second opinion since I seem to have an unusual situation. Please forgive the length of this post!
In 2001 my wife and I agreed (amicably) to divorce after 16 years of marriage. There are no allegations of misconduct from either her or me.
Since she was not yet a citizen and she wanted to save money and move to California (at that time we were getting along), she convinced me to stay in the home with her. I basically live in the basement and she lives upstairs. We do not have