Do I have the right to alimony?

My husband and I have been married for 12 yrs (this November). He made 144k last year (this includes a bonus of about 20K, he always gets a bonus and a minimum of 3% raise of his base salary). We have a child together (10 yrs old). I currently work as a part time substitute teacher and also as an interpreter for the school system. These are contract positions with no benefits. Last year for example I made only 8k. I have a master’s degree in Criminal Justice but the opportunities of work in that are are pretty limited. Besides, I chose to work for the school system thinking of our son because we have very similar schedules and I have a flexible schedule. Although our son is a high functioning autistic (level I, but still have a few things to work on in therapy), this was another reason for me to work for the school system, again, for the flexibility it offers. I was the one who insisted that our son needed therapy. At first my husband refused for him to get therapy or to pay for it, but eventually he reluctantly agreed and therapy has been a true miracle. I am a fully dependent spouse, he is the one who pays for the mortgage, bills, food, car payment, etc. I am the primary care taker of our son and I also take care of the house. My question is: Could I get alimony from him and for approximately how long? I do not expect it to last forever of course, but just hoping it would last until our son is 18 yrs old or until he’s able to transition to have an independent life. Once that happens I will be able to work full time as an interpreter which is my passion.
Thank you!

Yes, based on the facts you have stated, you are likely entitled to alimony, assuming you have not committed an act of illicit sexual behavior during the marriage (which would preclude your ability to be awarded alimony).

To receive alimony, you must be the dependent spouse and your husband must be the supporting spouse. The dependent spouse is the spouse that is actually and substantially dependent on the other spouse for his/her maintenance and support.

The amount of alimony and the duration is based on 16 Factors, which include, among others, the length of the marriage and the earning ability and work history of both spouses.

Generally you can anticipate alimony lasting for approximately half the length of the marriage, however, there is no statute or rule that requires that. Unless ordered by a judge, the amount and duration is negotiable.

Anna Ayscue

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

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