Must I pay alimony if there is no marital fault?

Often, one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce is alimony. While child support payments can also cause heated debate, alimony has a particular potential to be acrimonious. Many people believe that in North Carolina there is no need to pay alimony if marital fault is not found in the divorce. However, according to the Government of North Carolina, marital fault is not required as a condition for alimony payments.

Marital fault refers to one spouse exhibiting bad behavior which results in a divorce. For example, adultery is a form of marital fault. Substance abuse, being convicted of a crime, or perpetrating abuse are also forms of marital fault. Prior to a change in the legislation in 1995, marital fault was indeed required for the court to require alimony payments. This law ended up causing a lot of harm, so the government enacted the 1995 revisions to fix the statutes.

However, if marital fault is found with the dependent spouse, this may change his or her entitlement to alimony. Even if this is the case, though, this does not mean that the dependent spouse will not be entitled to post-separation support.

In today’s North Carolina courts, it is not marital fault that determines the presence of alimony payments, but rather an evaluation of the family’s current standard of living. The courts will determine if alimony payment is required from one spouse to the other. There are many things that go into this consideration, which means that alimony hearings can be rather complex.

This post is intended to educate you on marital fault and alimony payments in North Carolina. It is not intended to be taken as legal advice.