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Can a Wife Who Earns More Than the Husband Be Entitled to Alimony in North Carolina?

alimonyCourts may grant alimony in North Carolina, but not in all divorce cases. The income of each spouse plays a significant role in determining whether or not a spouse is entitled to receive spousal support from the other spouse. The spouse who makes considerably less income than the other, also referred to as the dependent spouse, is entitled to receive alimony from the supporting spouse.

While in the past, it was not common for women to work outside of their homes and for men to raise the children, more and more women are now entering the workforce. When alimony laws were created many years ago, the majority of women were homemakers, which made them most likely to suffer financial devastation after they get divorced. This issue was addressed by requiring former husbands to continue supporting their estranged wives.

The purpose of alimony is still the same these days as it was decades ago. Former spouses who stay at home to rear children are entitled to petition the court for spousal support payments, to which the court may grant alimony depending on the conditions involved. The alimony may either be temporary or permanent.

The question of many women is: Can a woman who earns more than the former husband still be entitled to alimony? In North Carolina, a former wife who has a current income that is significantly higher than the ex-husband’s income is most likely to be denied spousal support. This is because the purpose of alimony is to support the spouse with lower income in order to maintain the dependent spouse’s standard of living. In general, alimony is not necessary for a former wife who currently enjoys a certain standard of living.

However, it’s not impossible for higher-income women to be granted alimony because the courts consider a variety of factors in awarding spousal support. Such factors include each party’s conduct and standard of living during the marriage, as well as the party’s financial needs after the divorce. It’s important to note that the chances are lower for financially stable parties to get alimony.

On the other hand, earning a higher income than the former husband may cause the former wife to pay alimony. In 2009, ABC News reported that in the U.S., the number of men receiving alimony from their former wives in 2007 was 7,000. In 2008, the number of men receiving spousal support increased to 13,000.

If you’re facing alimony issues, it’s strongly suggested that you consult with an experienced NC divorce lawyer to guide you with your decisions. Contact McIlveen Family Law Firm today at (704) 865-901 to discuss your case.

About McIlveen Family Law Firm

The McIlveen Family Law Firm handles all types of divorce and family law cases.



  1. Pingback: Taxes and Alimony | N.C. Family Law Blog - May 15, 2013

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