Alimony- temporary or permanent

I am a dependant spouse and have been married 19 years. I was told I am eligible for alimony. How is the amount determined and how is the length of time determined? I would like to propose a seperation agreement to my spouse in order to avoid court, but he is an attorney (divorce) and I am afraid he will attempt to “short change” me. I do not want to “take his money”, but his income is 5 times mine. thanks.

Also, we have three children who I have cared for mostly as a SH mom and now I help him in his business part time. He will try to insist I go back to work full time rather than pay me alimony (doesn’t believe in it), but I don’t want to change the children’s lives any more than we have to. I would have to further my assoc. degree to get a job that I could handle (bad back). Thank you.

There is no formal calculation or guidelines in place for alimony like there is for child support in NC. Since your husband is a family law attorney, I would strongly urge you to consult with an attorney yourself before proposing any separation agreement in writing to him. A general way to think of alimony though is that it will last for half the length of the marriage, and you will need to look at both parties income and expenses (you’d need to estimate yours as if you were already separated) and see what the difference is. For example, if he has $5,000 left over per month and you had 0, then it would not be unreasonable whatsoever to seek $2,500. This is a way for you to negotiate, since there are no guidelines that the court would have to follow. Another way to estimate alimony in your case, since you seem to have minor children, would be to seek 50% of his income in alimony and child support combined. Good luck to you.

Thank you for your reply. I have talked to one attorney who was not sure he was willing to help me and I have tried to talk to two others, but they don’t want to get involved because my husband is a family law attorney I guess. I need to know if I should try to go back to school or wait. My husband is dead set against alimony for any one and I’m sure it will be an issue even though I am clearly a dependant spouse. I can start school online and maybe finish in 3 years at which time I could support myself if I can find a job at my age (late 40’s). Also, how is it decided whether alimony is temporary or permanent? Thank you.

If you cannot find any attorney who is willing to help you, then you would be better off to file for alimony and post-separation support yourself. You would likely end up with a better deal than the 0 dollars he’s offering you now. Post-separation support is paid during the parties’ separation, until a hearing can be had (or an agreement reached) on alimony. Alimony is typically given for roughly half the length of the marriage, but this varies. Permanent alimony (alimony without an end date–save re-marriage or death) is rare in NC, but does still occur, but it’s much more likely in very long-term marriages.