Close
Call Now!

September 27, 2023

Understanding Alimony in South Carolina: Factors and Eligibility

a judges gavel

If a judge rules that you must provide financial support to your spouse during or after divorce, it is important to understand the process. Alimony has great importance during divorce proceedings and the months following. It provides maintenance to parties who may find themselves in financial difficulties and cannot take care of their responsibilities or continue their way of life.

In Charleston, South Carolina, a few factors may influence the amount of spousal support you must provide and your eligibility for that support.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony is spousal financial support or maintenance that one spouse must pay to the other spouse. This takes place during or after divorce. In some cases, the spouse will need to pay alimony during both the divorce proceedings and as maintenance after the divorce has been settled. Alimony is court-ordered, which means that if a judge finds that the couple is eligible, they will need to pay the money.

If you fail to pay the required alimony, you may be held in contempt of court. Depending on your case, you must either pay the overdue spousal support or a fine. Depending on the severity of the case, you may face imprisonment.

The Different Types of Alimony Awarded in South Carolina

what are the different types of alimony graphic

Depending on your divorce case, there are different types of alimony that a judge can award you in South Carolina:

  • Permanent periodic alimony: This alimony occurs in the form of monthly payments of a specified amount indefinitely. The payee could support the recipient throughout their life. Cases in which periodic alimony payment may cease include the death of the supported spouse receiving alimony, the death of a spouse paying alimony or if the recipient remarries.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: If the recipient relied on their spouse for financial support, the recipient could receive rehabilitative alimony to become self-supporting. For example, they would receive support that will help them learn new skills or complete their education to find a job and take care of themselves and their children. Rehabilitative may end if the recipient remarries or either party dies.
  • Reimbursement alimony: Some spouses pay for education, skills training or expenses during the marriage. In this event, the court can rule that the payee reimburse the recipient for the money spent to help them further their skills or complete education while they were married. Payment will be made monthly for a definite amount of time.
  • Lump-sum alimony: The recipient will be awarded a specified amount of money in a lump-sum alimony. The payee can either pay all the spousal support at once or in monthly installments.
  • Separate maintenance and support: If a couple separates but does not divorce, the court can rule that the payee provides maintenance while living separately.
READ  Mediation vs. Litigation: Choosing the Right Divorce Approach for You

Financial Disparities

Each marriage is different. As such, there is no definite way to calculate the amount of financial support the recipient should receive. The family court will consider financial discrepancies to determine if the spouse should receive alimony and the amount due. In some instances, both parties can support themselves during and after the divorce. In others, the one spouse is almost completely reliant on their partner. Considering these discrepancies can help a judge determine the type of alimony and the amount payable.

Standard of Living During Marriage

During and after a divorce, the lives of both parties and their family will change. However, their standard of living should not decline. This standard includes expenses, responsibilities and their overall way of life. The alimony must be able to uphold the recipient’s way of life while also not causing financial difficulty to the payee.

Ideally, the standard of life must be upheld for both parties and their families. The standard of living also affects the amount paid. With more expenses and responsibilities come increased payments.

Age and Health of Spouses

The court takes into consideration the age and health of both spouses when awarding alimony. If the recipient is older or has health issues, the court can rule that they are eligible for alimony. If a recipient cannot take care of themselves or needs support, the eligibility and amount payable increase.

If the payee is close to retirement age or suffers from health conditions, this can affect payment or cause financial discrepancies. The judge can make adjustments to ensure that alimony is granted while ensuring the payee can avoid financial difficulty.

Eligibility Criteria for Spousal Support

For a judge to award alimony to the receiving spouse, they must meet the eligibility criteria in South Carolina:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • Mental and physical indication of each spouse
  • The educational background of each spouse
  • Employment history and earning potential
  • Standard of living while married
  • Current and anticipated earnings and expenses of each spouse
  • Marital and non-marital property awards
  • Custody of the children
  • Marital misconduct or fault
  • Tax consequences
  • Prior marriage support obligations
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant

Dependency on the Other Spouse

The court can grant alimony to a spouse if they are completely dependent on their partner. An example of this would be a stay-at-home parent or spouse who does not have a stable income. If they depend on the partner for financial support, the court can award alimony to the recipient.

Sometimes, it’s not the recipient’s choice to become a stay-at-home parent. They may have had thriving jobs where they gave up their careers to look after their family or support their partners. The court can rule that the recipient receives rehabilitative alimony to ensure that they receive spousal support to take care of themselves.

READ  Six Tips for Blended Families

Ability to Support Oneself

For a judge to rule that you are eligible for alimony, you must present evidence that you cannot support yourself. There are a lot of feelings involved during divorce proceedings. However, the family court will only consider factual evidence. Mentioning that you are entitled to alimony or a portion of property or income is not enough.

You must prove that you are financially dependent on the payee or that your income cannot sustain your way of life. You can also receive alimony if you prove that you have limited skills or lack the necessary education to secure a job with a reasonable income.

Marital Misconduct

One of the instances where the receiving spouse will not receive alimony in South Carolina is in the event of marital misconduct, including adultery. South Carolina prohibits alimony if marital misconduct takes place before a written property or marital agreement is formally signed or before a permanent order of separate maintenance and support.

Key Factors That Influence Alimony Awards in Charleston, South Carolina

In summary, a few key factors influence the eligibility for spousal support in South Carolina. This includes financial discrepancies, dependency and the standard of life. Alimony is not always granted. The recipient must provide a reasonable amount of evidence to support their claims of needing financial support after divorce.

Contact Lauren Taylor Law for Legal Advice and Support

Get the professional help and legal advice you need with Lauren Taylor Law. We will help you navigate the challenges and changes of divorce through experienced representation and practical solutions. To contact us, complete this online form and we will provide you with the best support.

best Charleston, SC alimony lawyer

Summary
Understanding Alimony in South Carolina: Factors and Eligibility
Article Name
Understanding Alimony in South Carolina: Factors and Eligibility
Description
If a judge rules that you must provide financial support to your spouse during or after divorce, it is important to understand the process. Alimony has great importance during divorce proceedings and the months following. It provides maintenance to parties who may find themselves in financial difficulties and cannot take care of their responsibilities or continue their way of life. In Charleston, South Carolina, a few factors may influence the amount of spousal support you must provide and your eligibility for that support.
Author
Publisher Name
Lauren Taylor Law Firm
Publisher Logo