Permanent Alimony is paid until death or remarriage of the recipient. While the award is generally made to be fair and allow both parties to maintain the standard of living to which they grew accustomed during the marriage, the reality is that with 2 households being maintained after the divorce, that both parties will likely have to make sacrifices and have a lesser standard of living.
Permanent alimony was created when women rarely had careers or went to college, but instead took care of the children and house. While it was needed in those times, often times it is now abused and most states have abandoned or reformed the laws for permanent alimony. NC is just one of a few states where permanent alimony still exists.
Two parties can voluntarily enter into an alimony agreement with terms they choose, including forfeiture of any alimony support if that is what the parties want. Most cases however, end up in court where the dependent spouse must prove that their resources cannot meet their needs for the standard of living they grew accustomed to during marriage.
Factors used to determine the amount of permanent alimony are not just assets and income of the individual, but a court will also look at any marital faults such as abandonment, adultery, or drug or alcohol use. Other factors include age and health of the individuals, duration of the marriage, accustomed standard of living, education, employment, custody of the child/children, and even taxes.