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by kimmonslaw | Jul 5, 2017 | Family Law

People often wonder, Am I eligible for alimony? or they may fear, Im afraid my spouse is going to get a ton of alimony from me!

So, how does one know if he or she is eligible for alimony or is at risk for having to pay alimony?

South Carolina does not have a mathematical equation to calculate alimony. The judge will use judicial discretion to determine if you get alimony and how much you will get. He or she uses several factors to determine the amount of alimony to be paid, if any.

There is also one situation in which alimony will never be awarded. A person who is proven to have committed adultery before the signing of a formal and written marital settlement agreement and before the entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or permanent order of approval of a marital settlement agreement is absolutely barred from receiving alimony.

Consult A Greenville Family Lawyer

Whether or not the proposed reforms pass, alimony will remain a contentious issue in divorce proceedings. If you or your spouse are contemplating divorce, your first step should be to consult an experienced South Carolina family lawyer. Greenville, SC divorce attorney Robert Clark of Greenville Family Law focuses on compassionate representation of clients in all family court matters. Contact Robert for a consultation today.

Both Spouses Can Win In A Settlement

Trials are always risky. The judge might make a decision that leaves both spouses disappointed. Thats why all couples divorcing in South Carolina have to go to mediation.

A divorcing couple can come to an agreement on the big questions: who gets the house? who gets primary child custody?

This also includes spousal support. Choosing to settle means you can agree to a monthly spousal support payment. You can also agree to end it in only a few years.

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What Other Orders Can A Judge Make Related To Alimony

The judge may set aside money for future support by requiring the spouse paying the support to post a bond,. This means that the spouse who pays alimony has to leave money or the title to property with the court to make sure that it is available to the spouse receiving alimony in case the paying spouse fails to pay. 1

The judge may also require the spouse paying support to maintain health or life insurance and to name the person getting alimony as the receiver of the benefits.1

In terms of how the alimony gets to the spouse, the judge may order the spouse paying alimony to pay directly to the person getting alimony, or to make the payments through Family Court and pay any fees required by Family Court. Alternatively, the court may require the spouse paying alimony to pay off debts for the person getting alimony in addition to, or instead of, paying alimony directly to the person.2

1 S.C. Code § 20-3-130

Does Domestic Abuse Affect Alimony

Springfield Divorce Attorney Marilynn Dye

Section 20-3-130-10 provides that family courts, in determining whether alimony can be ordered, can consider the marital misconduct or fault of either spouse if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage Marital misconduct cannot be considered if it occurred subsequent to the happening of the earliest of the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or 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.

At Holland Law LLC, I explain the rights of a dependent spouse to alimony and the obligations of a spouse to pay alimony. Many alimony awards are resolved through negotiation or mediation. I also advocate for my clients who seek to obtain or contest alimony in family court. I understand all the ways divorce affects spouses and children. To discuss all aspects of your divorce, including alimony, please call me to schedule an appointment. We represent spouses in York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties. You can call us in our Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in our Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue at , or fill out our contact page.

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Adultery Is A Complete Bar To Alimony In South Carolina

If you are separated, can you start dating other people?

Not so fast

SC Code § 21-3-130 says that adultery is a complete bar to alimony in South Carolina, but only if it happens before:

  • The formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement, or
  • The entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or a permanent order approving the parties property or marital settlement agreement.
  • Adultery is its even one of the five grounds for divorce in South Carolina, and its also one of the factors the court must consider when deciding whether to award alimony in South Carolina.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony In South Carolina

    Spouses in South Carolina who divorce or separate have numerous questions about alimony. They want to know the types of alimony there are, the factors that determine whether alimony should be awarded, how much alimony should be awarded, and whether alimony awards can be modified.

    We discuss these topics on our main alimony page. Some of the follow-up questions that dependent spouses and payor spouse have about alimony include the following:

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    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.

    Contact us for an initial consultation:

    How Courts Determine Alimony:

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    The Court looks at the disadvantaged spouse when coming up with a support payment amount. Certain factors determine how long a spouse should support the other after a divorce. These factors include:

  • Support obligations for a 10-year marriage will be longer than a 3-year marriage.
  • Physical/Emotional condition of the disadvantaged spouse. A court may order support if one spouse is very sick.
  • Education. Can a spouse get back into the workforce?
  • Employment History. Someone with a long, continuous employment history shows a spouse can pay support. If a disadvantaged spouse has a good work history, then she may not need support.
  • Standard of Living. Divorces change your financial situation. Courts dont want spouses defaulting on car loans or mortgages after filing.
  • Anticipated Earnings and Expenses. These may increase or decrease support payments.
  • Child Custody. Raising children costs money. The court usually considers alimony and child support payments together.
  • If a spouse commits adultery, they cant get alimony in South Carolina.
  • Tax Consequences. You must pay tax on spousal support you receive. If you pay spousal support, you can deduct it when paying taxes. This is different from child support, which is neither taxable or deductible. The IRS posted this helpful page on alimony.
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    What Types Of Alimony Can Be Awarded In South Carolina

    In South Carolina, there are several types of alimony, also known as “spousal support”.

    Lump Sum Alimony, is a definite amount and is either paid all at once or in a series of fixed payments.

    Permanent Periodic Alimony, the most common type, is paid on a regular schedule, usually monthly, and can continue for a set period of time or indefinitely, as the case may be.

    And finally, Rehabilitative Alimony is a kind of alimony that is awarded when one spouse needs a helping hand to get back on his or her feet. It’s paid typically every month and lasts for a finite number of years.

    Enough Is Enough: How Can Alimony Be Terminated In South Carolina

    Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Mar 19, 2018 | 1 Comment

    Alimony is one of the most controversial topics in family law. Regardless of your position on whether it should be awarded in divorce cases, when it has been awarded, the payor , usually wants to know how those payments can be terminated permanently under South Carolina law. Read on to find out more:

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    What Are The Grounds For Terminating An Alimony Order

    A spouse who is paying periodic alimony, rehabilitative alimony, or reimbursement alimony can, based on Section 20-3-150, request that the alimony award terminate if:

    • The spouse who is receiving alimony dies.
    • The spouse who is receiving alimony remarries or continually cohabits with someone. Generally, a spouse wont be disqualified from receiving periodic alimony if they have a one-night stand. The cohabitation has to be continuous. In South Carolina, a cohabitation of 90 days or more is considered continuous. The family court can consider cohabitation periods of less than 90 days if there are multiple short-term cohabitation periods just to avoid the 90-day condition. Proving cohabitation may require employing a private investigator.
    • If the spouse who is paying alimony dies, then that spouses estate is not required to pay alimony unless the alimony award required that the payor spouse have a life insurance policy to cover post-death alimony payments.

    If the alimony award is a lump sum payment, once the full payment is made, the alimony case is closed.

    If alimony is based on separation, the alimony award ends when the spouses divorce or if the spouses reconcile and live together again. A new alimony award can be entered when the spouses divorce.

    The spouse who is paying alimony should seek court approval of the termination. The spouse shouldnt terminate payments on his/her own.

    Continued Cohabitation Of The Supported Spouse Stops Alimony In South Carolina

    Ryan Phillips

    If the obligee continuously cohabitates with a person with whom they are romantically involved for ninety or more consecutive days, the court can terminate alimony. If the two periodically separate to circumvent the ninety-day requirement, a court can still find that continuous cohabitation has occurred.

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    No Alimony If You Commit Adultery

    SC Code Section 20-3-130 says that no alimony will be awarded to a spouse who commits adultery, if the adultery happens before:

    • The signing of a written separation or settlement agreement or
    • The entry of a permanent order of separate support and maintenance.

    What this means is that, if you intend to ask for alimony, you cannot date other people until after you have signed a settlement agreement or after the Court has issued its final order.

    Questions About Alimony In South Carolina

    If you are considering separation or divorce and believe you are entitled to receive alimony, call an experienced South Carolina divorce attorneynow who can answer your questions and help to protect your rights during the process.

    Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

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    What Are The Basic Steps For Filing For Divorce

    While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps:

    • First, you must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file.

    • Second, you must have grounds to end your marriage.

    • Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse.

    • Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, he will then have the opportunity to file papers telling his side. This is called contesting the divorce. In this case, you will have to attend a series of court appearances to sort the issues out. If your spouse does not disagree with anything, he should sign the papers and send them back to you and/or the court. This is called an uncontested divorce. If a certain period of time passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway. You should speak to a lawyer in your state about how long you have to wait to see if your spouse answers the divorce papers before you can continue with the divorce.

    • Fifth, if there is property that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, you will have to work that out in an out-of-court settlement, or in a series of court hearings. Custody may also be decided as part of your divorce.

    You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

    You Can Get Spousal Support If You Are Separated

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    South Carolina does not have legal separation. But when we file your divorce case for you, we ask for a temporary orders hearing. A temporary orders hearing asks the court for child support and temporary spousal support while the divorce case is pending. That way, we ensure our clients can support themselves.

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    What Are The Different Types Of Alimony In Fort Mill Greenville & Rock Hill South Carolina

    Once our Fort Mill, Greenville & Rock Hill alimony lawyers determine the details of the financial support our client deserves, or is equitably obligated to pay, we will turn our focus to the type of alimony, which will dictate how it will be paid.

    That may include:

    • Lump-Sum Alimony

    The court might order one spouse to pay the other a lump sum or set amount of support that the spouse can pay all at once or in a few installments.

    A spouse cannot change a lump sum alimony award.

    • Periodic Alimony

    The courts may make one spouse pay the other with ongoing, periodic support payments.

    The courts will set a time to review the agreement and make changes or terminate it according to the circumstances.

    • Rehabilitative Alimony

    This type of spousal support aims to help one spouse gain the work experience, education, or training to earn an income.

    One spouse will pay the other until the recipient can earn more money on his or her own.

    • Reimbursement Alimony

    These payments serve to reimburse one spouse for the financial or time contributions he or she made during the marriage to help the other succeed at work or school.

    During the , the courts may make an order for one spouse to pay the other while they no longer live together, up to or after a divorce.

    Does Adultery Affect Alimony In South Carolina

    South Carolina statute Section 20-3-130 provides that No alimony may be awarded to a spouse who commits adultery before the earliest of these two events:

    the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or

    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.

    In other words, if you are going to have relations with someone, you should wait until the divorce is final and all the agreements are signed and approved. Otherwise, you may risk being denied your right to alimony.

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    What Are The Types Of Alimony In South Carolina

    The commonest types of alimony in South Carolina are temporary, permanent, periodic, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and separate maintenance. When a South Carolina spouse requests alimony, the court decides which of these is appropriate by considering the state and circumstances of each spouse.

    Temporary alimony is also referred to as alimony pendente lite. It is awarded during the divorce process, before the final divorce decree. It is appropriate if the requesting spouse needs financial support while the divorce is pending in court.

    Periodic alimony is meant to be short-term and usually lasts until the recipient spouse becomes financially independent. It is paid on a recurring basis and is intended to help the supported spouse get education or job training that would lead to employment and financial independence.

    Reimbursement alimony refers to alimony that is meant to reimburse one spouse for the expenses incurred while supporting the others education, career, or earning ability.

    For instance, a spouse who worked full-time to fund the others college education may request reimbursement alimony upon divorce. A judge may order reimbursement alimony to be paid once or in installments over time.

    Alimony Law In South Carolina

    Kristen Leonard

    The amount to be awarded for spousal support, as well as a determination of whether a spouse is entitled to alimony, is within the sound discretion of the family court. Smith v. Smith, 264 S.C. 624, 628, 216 S.E.2d 541, 543 . An abuse of discretion occurs when the decision is controlled by an error of law or is based on factual findings without evidentiary support. Degenhart v. Burriss, 360 S.C. 497, 500, 602 S.E.2d 96, 97 .

    The purpose of spousal support is to place the supported spouse, as close as is practical, in the same position of support as during the marriage. Johnson v. Johnson, 296 S.C. 289, 300, 372 S.E.2d 107, 113 . If the claim for alimony is well-founded, the family court has the duty of making “an alimony award that is fit, equitable, and just.” Allen v. Allen, 347 S.C. 177, 184, 554 S.E.2d 421, 424 . The family court should consider the following factors in awarding spousal support:

    duration of the marriage physical and emotional health of the parties educational background of the parties employment history and earning potential of the parties standard of living established during the marriage current and reasonably anticipated earnings of the parties current and reasonably anticipated expenses of the parties marital and nonmarital properties of the parties custody of children marital misconduct or fault tax consequences and prior support obligations as well as other factors the court considers relevant.

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