Spousal Support in Wilmington NC: What You Need to Know

Going through a divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, especially when it comes to arranging spousal support. If you find yourself in this situation in Wilmington, NC, understanding the basics of spousal support can help you navigate the legal system more effectively. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of spousal support in Wilmington, NC and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a legal obligation where one spouse provides financial assistance to the other spouse following a divorce or separation. It is designed to ensure that the financially disadvantaged spouse can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living as they had during the marriage. Spousal support aims to address the economic disparities that may arise after a divorce, particularly when one spouse earns significantly more than the other.

Determining Spousal Support in Wilmington, NC

When it comes to determining spousal support in Wilmington, NC, several factors come into play. These factors include:

1. Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage plays a significant role in determining the duration and amount of spousal support. Generally, longer marriages are more likely to result in longer-term spousal support obligations.

2. Income Disparity: The court will also consider the income disparity between the spouses. If one spouse earns considerably more than the other, spousal support is more likely to be awarded.

3. Earning Capacity: The court will evaluate the ability of both spouses to earn income. If one spouse has the potential to earn an income but is unemployed or underemployed, they may still be expected to contribute to their own support.

4. Standard of Living: The court will consider the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. The goal is to ensure that both spouses can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living following the divorce.

5. Child Custody Arrangements: Child custody arrangements can also impact spousal support. If one spouse has primary custody of the children, they may require additional financial support to meet their needs.

Types of Spousal Support

There are different types of spousal support that may be awarded in Wilmington, NC:

1. Temporary Support: Also referred to as pendente lite support, temporary support is awarded during the divorce proceedings to address the immediate financial needs of the dependent spouse.

2. Rehabilitative Support: This type of support is intended to help the dependent spouse become self-supporting. It is usually awarded for a defined period, allowing the recipient spouse to acquire the necessary skills or education to reenter the workforce.

3. Permanent Support: Permanent support is awarded when the dependent spouse is unlikely to become self-supporting due to age, health, or other factors. It typically lasts until the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient spouse.

Modifying Spousal Support

In certain circumstances, spousal support orders can be modified. If there is a significant change in the financial circumstances of either spouse, such as a loss of employment or a substantial increase in income, the court may consider modifying the spousal support amount.

Enforcing Spousal Support Orders

If your former spouse fails to comply with the spousal support order, you have legal options for enforcement. You may seek assistance from the court to enforce the order and collect the overdue payments. It is essential to consult with a skilled family law attorney who can guide you through the enforcement process.


Spousal support is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings, ensuring that both spouses can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce. Understanding the factors that affect spousal support in Wilmington, NC, as well as the different types of support available, can help you navigate this complex area of family law. If you find yourself in a situation where you may require spousal support, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can protect your rights and interests throughout the process.

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