What Factors Does The Court Consider When Making An Award Of Alimony?
- Duration of marriage.
- Age of parties at time of marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action.
- The physical condition of each spouse.
- The emotional condition of each spouse.
- The educational background of each spouse; need of either spouse for additional training or education.
- The employment history of each spouse.
- The earning potential of each spouse.
- Standard of living established during the marriage.
- Current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of each spouse.
- Property owned by each spouse to include what either is receiving of the marital property and what each party owns as non-marital assets.
- Custody of the children, especially where it impacts the ability for the custodial parent to be employed.
- Marital misconduct or fault of each spouse.
- Regardless of whether it is used as a basis for divorce. Has the misconduct affected the economic circumstances of the marriage or contributed to the breakup of the marriage?
- Has the misconduct occurred prior to the signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement?
- The tax consequences of the alimony.
- The existence of any other support obligation for either party.
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant.
What Are The Types And Duration Of Alimony In South Carolina?
There are four main types of alimony in South Carolina: (1) permanent periodic alimony, (2) rehabilitative alimony, (3) lump sum alimony and (4) reimbursement alimony.
Permanent periodic alimony: This is the most common form of alimony in South Carolina. This support terminates on death of either spouse, remarriage of the supported spouse or the supported spouse cohabitates for a period of 90 days or more. This support is modifiable on a showing of a substantial change of circumstances. When the parties are not divorced, this type of alimony is called separate support and maintenance.
Rehabilitative alimony: This support terminates on the terms of the final order, upon remarriage, continued cohabitation of supported spouse (90 days or more), or death of either spouse. It can only be awarded when the court finds a probability that the supported spouse can become self-supporting within a specific time frame.
Lump sum alimony: This support is a finite total sum to be paid in one installment or periodically over a period of time. This support is non-modifiable and terminates only upon the death of supported spouse. This type of alimony is generally awarded when the supported spouse needs a finite total sum of support or when the parties desire a fixed support obligation.
Reimbursement alimony: This support terminates on remarriage, continued cohabitation (90 days or more) of supported spouse, or upon death of either spouse. The purpose of this alimony award is to reimburse the supported spouse for the investment (i.e., financial, time, energy, maintain household) he/she made in the supporting spouse’s education and/or business.
If Someone Commits Adultery, How Does It Impact Alimony In South Carolina?
A spouse who commits adultery will generally be barred from receiving alimony. Per South Carolina Code Ann. §20-3-130(A), “No alimony may be awarded to a spouse who commits 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.” However, if adultery has been condoned or is the result of connivance, this does not act as a bar to alimony.
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