Alimony is defined under North Carolina law as “an order for payment for the support and maintenance of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, or in an action for alimony without divorce.”  North Carolina General Statute § 50-16.1A. In other words, alimony simply refers to support payments made from one spouse to the other spouse following a separation or divorce. These payments can either be agreed upon by the parties in a contract or set forth in a court order.