How much you owe (or receive) in child support depends mostly on these 6 numbers: (1) how many children, (2) your income, (3) the other parent’s income, (4) cost of the medical insurance premiums (for the child), (5) the daycare cost and (6) the number of nights children spend with each parent.
North Carolina courts must use this formula to figure out the amount of support. As a result, you can predict (to a reasonable certainty) how much child support a judge would order, if you took this to court. Of course, as with everything lawyers touch, there are exceptions, deviations, situations where the formula does not apply (for instance, if your incomes are too large or too small to fit the formula). Then there are adjustments for extraordinary expenses, and plain human error. But overall, your child support is formula-driven, and you can fairly predict it.
Alimony is less predictable.
In North Carolina, there is no formula for the amount of alimony (payments from one spouse to another spouse). The thought behind alimony is that the spouse who did not earn much (or any) money during the marriage should receive enough support to be able to live after divorce on exactly same income as they lived before the divorce. Supposing Mary (annual salary of 10,000) is divorcing Bill (annual salary of 500,000). If Mary (earning 10,000 a year) is used to living on 100,000 a year, that means that Bill had been kicking in 90,000 for her living expenses during the marriage. So then 90,000 is what Bill will be kicking in after the marriage. Until Mary dusts off her old diplomas and goes to work. That is, however, is just a rough principle. Unlike some other states, North Carolina legislature did not create a formula for alimony, which means that judges decide on alimony amounts case by case. Alimony in North Carolina does not last forever, and there is no legislature-approved formula on the length of alimony either. The lore among the divorce lawyers is that most judges make alimony last about half the length of the marriage. It is not clear if there is any real statistics about what judges really do, however.
North Carolina legislature does require that the judges consider the length of the marriage when deciding alimony. But it is only one of fourteen total factors which the judges consider—ranging from incomes and standard of living of the spouses to who mistreated whom and in what way. You can look up the law here.