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FAMILY LAW

Spousal Support in South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina Alimony and Spousal Support Attorneys

Some people think alimony is a remnant of the past; others imagine it is offered in every divorce. In most cases in South Carolina, the truth is somewhere in between. There are several factors that play a part in whether alimony is awarded and what that alimony award may look like.

South Carolina provides for two types of alimony, also known as spousal support:

  1. Pendente lite alimony
    Intended to be temporary and used to address the immediate needs of a dependent spouse while the litigation in ongoing.
  2. Alimony
    Typically longer in duration and dependent on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage and the parties’ needs and earning capacities.

The duration and manner of alimony is then broken down even further, with the Court typically awarding one of the following categories of alimony:

  • Periodic alimony
    Is a form of ongoing alimony payments, but allows for termination or modification in the future. Termination grounds include remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse or the death of either spouse. Modification (and possible termination) can be based upon a change in circumstances in the future that may warrant a review, and change, of the alimony award or termination if alimony is found to be no longer needed or appropriate.
  • Lump-sum alimony
    Is a finite sum paid in one installment, or intermittently over a period of time. Lump sum alimony is only terminable upon the death of the supported spouse. Remarriage or cohabitation will not change the alimony amount or payments owed. Essentially, this form of alimony is not modifiable.
  • Rehabilitative alimony
    Is also a finite sum paid in one installment, or intermittently over a period of time. Unlike lump-sum alimony, rehabilitative alimony is terminable upon remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse or the death of either spouse. In addition, this form of alimony is also terminable upon the occurrence of a specific event in the future or modifiable based on unforeseen circumstances presented by either party. This form of alimony is meant to assist the supported spouse with getting back on their feet or becoming self-sufficient.
  • Reimbursement alimony
    Is a finite sum to be paid in one installment or periodically, and is terminable on the remarriage or continued cohabitation of the supported spouse or upon the death of either spouse. But, this form of alimony is not terminable or modifiable based on changed circumstances in the future. The purpose is generally to reimburse the supported spouse from the future earnings of the paying spouse based upon circumstances or events that occurred during the marriage.
  • Separate maintenance and support
    May be awarded when divorce is not sought or pending, but is used to meet the needs of the supported spouse while the parties are living separate and apart.

Understanding South Carolina Alimony Law

Unlike child support, there are no guidelines or a calculator set by statute to determine the amount of alimony or separate maintenance and support in South Carolina. However, a number of factors are written into state law to help the court decide whether alimony should be paid, how much should be awarded, and for how long.

  • the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties.
  • the physical and emotional condition of each spouse
  • the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential
  • the employment history and earning potential of each spouse
  • the standard of living established during the marriage
  • the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses
  • the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses
  • the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action
  • custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature
  • marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage
  • the tax consequences to each party
  • a support obligation from a prior marriage
  • such other factors the court considers relevant.

There is one other important detail about South Carolina alimony: South Carolina law provides that a spouse will not be entitled to alimony if they have engaged in adultery before the earliest of these two events:

  1. the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or
  2. entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties.

Helping South Carolina Families with Alimony Concerns

If you are considering divorce or separation, or have been served with a lawsuit or complaint, alimony is probably on your mind. Whether you think you may have to pay, or are concerned you will need alimony payments to support yourself, the attorneys at Sodoma Law York can help. Our divorce attorneys understand that financial worries are one of the most common divorce fears, and we will work to ensure that you have all your questions answered so that you can work towards a successful life post-divorce.

Because the factors to determine alimony can be difficult to quantify, a spouse concerned about alimony should have an experienced divorce and alimony attorney presenting evidence on his or her behalf. The attorneys at Sodoma Law York have a lengthy track record of securing alimony determinations that meet their clients’ needs. Whether by helping to negotiate an alimony award that makes sense for our clients’ circumstances, or advocating for them in court, we strive to get our clients the financial peace of mind they need.

Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Sodoma Law York helps both prospective alimony payors and recipients in York, Lancaster, and the surrounding counties of South Carolina. We look forward to answering your alimony questions and invite you to contact us.

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