The term alimony comes from the Scottish legal concept of aliment, which required a husband to provide for his wife her lodging, food, clothing, and necessities in the event they divorced. In North Carolina, alimony has evolved into monetary payments that may be paid from a supporting spouse to a dependent spouse. To have a valid claim for alimony, you must have a supporting / dependent relationship.
A supporting spouse is defined as a spouse upon whom the other spouse is actually substantially dependent for maintenance and support or from whom such spouse is substantially in need of maintenance and support. A dependent spouse is defined as a spouse who is actually substantially dependent upon the other spouse for his or her maintenance and support or is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. A wife, for example, who earns $150,000.00 per year, would be a supporting spouse over a husband who stays at home to keep the children. A husband, for example, who earns $175,000.00 per year would be a supporting spouse over a wife who earns $40,000.00 per year.
It is important to note that affairs play into alimony by either barring or guaranteeing that alimony is awarded. If a dependent spouse participates in an act of illicit sexual behavior (sleeps with someone other than their spouse) during the period of marriage, the dependent spouse is barred from being awarded alimony. If the supporting spouse participates in an act of illicit sexual behavior during the period of marriage, the court shall order that alimony be paid to the dependent spouse. If both parties participated in illicit sexual behavior, alimony shall either be denied or awarded at the discretion of the court after consideration of all the circumstances. Sexual acts that occur a day after the date of separation are not acts that would bar or guarantee alimony.
How much alimony am I entitled to? How long will I receive alimony? Unlike child support, there is no calculator to determine an alimony amount or duration in North Carolina. Instead, the court considers a number of factors including the length of marriage, the reasonable needs of the spouses, the ability of one spouse to pay alimony, the dependent spouse’s standard of living, the dependent spouse’s educational background, and whether there was any marital misconduct during the marriage. Generally, longer marriages result in alimony award of longer durations; people who are high income earners will usually pay a higher amount than people with modest incomes.
If you would like to speak to an experienced family law attorney regarding alimony, please contact Adkins Law and we can arrange a consultation.
What is the Recapture Rule?
If your alimony payments decrease or end during the first 3 calendar years, you may be subject to the recapture rule. The reasons for a reduction or end of alimony payments that can require a recapture include:
The recapture rule forces the alimony payer, usually the ex-husband, to report as income the alimony payments he previously deducted, which means the ex-wife is entitled to reduce from income the alimony payments she previously received.
When does the Recapture Rule Apply?
The rule applies when the payments decrease or terminate during the first three calendars years post-divorce and:
1.) The total payments made in the third year decrease by $15,000 or more from the payments made in the second year; or
2.) The payments made in the second year and the third year are substantially less than the payments made in the first year.
Recapture Rule & Filing Taxes:
a) Including the recapture amount in your income: If you must include a recaptured amount in income, show it on Form 1040, line 11 (“Alimony received”). Cross out “received” and enter “recapture.” On the dotted line next to the amount, enter your spouse's last name and SSN or ITIN.
b) Deducting the recapture amount: If you can deduct a recaptured amount, show it on Form 1040, line 31a (“Alimony paid”). Cross out “paid” and enter “recapture.” In the space provided, enter your spouse's SSN or ITIN.
Exceptions to the Recapture Rule?
The Recapture Rule does NOT apply to the following:
If you need to speak with a family law attorney in regards to alimony, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law has offices in Huntersville and Ballantyne for your convenience.
Step 1. Determine which payments you made qualify as alimony.
Payments that are NOT alimony: Not all payments under a divorce or separation instrument are alimony. Alimony does not include:
Requirements for a payment to be alimony:
General Rules for alimony payments:
Step 2. Mark down alimony payments made or received on your taxes:
a) How to Deduct Alimony Paid on your Taxes:
b) How to Report Alimony Received on your Taxes:
For more information go to https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17/ch18.html.
If you would like to speak with a family law attorney in regards to alimony, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law has offices in Huntersville and Ballantyne for your convenience.
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Alimony is support awarded to a dependent spouse. When a married couple separates, a claim of alimony must be instituted before the divorce is finalized or it is lost. In order to file for alimony, there must be a dependent spouse and a supporting spouse. This means that one spouse, the supporting spouse, must provide economic support to the other spouse, the dependent spouse.
The dependent spouse must be able to prove that he or she is truly dependent on the economic support of the supporting spouse. There can be a difference in income without such a relationship existing. If one spouse makes $55K per year, for example, and the other spouse makes $50K per year, a supporting / dependent relationship probably would not exist. If, on the other hand, one spouse makes $150K per year and the other spouse makes $35K per year, a supporting / dependent relationship would probably be found to exist.
Even if a supporting / dependent relationship exists, infidelity during marriage may effect alimony. If, for example, the dependent spouse cheats on the supporting spouse during their marriage, she is barred from alimony. If the supporting spouse, however, cheats on the dependent spouse during their marriage, alimony should be automatically be granted.
If you need legal advice for alimony in North Carolina, specifically in Mecklenburg County, please contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC, and primarily serves Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County. Contact Adkins Law to speak with an alimony lawyer today.