Alimony, also known as spousal support in South Carolina, is one of the most difficult problems to address in any divorce case. Contrary to common assumption, alimony and spousal support payments in South Carolina are not granted to punish the paying spouse but to assist the receiving spouse in maintaining the same or similar level of living as that which was enjoyed throughout the marriage if the marital estate allows it.
The legislation on alimony is always changing. Alimony is calculated depending on a variety of variables, and it is largely left to the judge’s discretion based on those considerations. It is critical that you have a South Carolina Divorce Attorney on your side to fight for your rights and for your interests.
During and after a divorce, alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other. However, many people feel that their financial obligations to their spouse end after the divorce, but this is not necessarily the case. This article will explain to you about alimony in South Carolina.
Spousal Support in SC
In South Carolina, the court will usually consider awarding alimony in South Carolina, with the more financially stable spouse paying alimony to the less fortunate spouse. When deciding whether or not to award alimony and, if so, how much alimony should be paid, the courts will examine a number of issues. These considerations include the parties’ ages, present incomes, health, job history, and ability to earn one’s own money. The procedure can be somewhat subjective because there is no set formula for calculating alimony.
When a spouse asks for alimony in South Carolina, the court has the authority to determine a reasonable alimony order based on the couple’s circumstances. The following types of alimony are available under South Carolina law:
Permanent Periodic Alimony in South Carolina
The most prevalent type of alimony in South Carolina divorce cases is permanent periodic alimony. It’s usually given when the court thinks it’s acceptable for one spouse to help with the other’s ongoing support. In most cases, periodic alimony is a set amount paid every week or month. It is normally paid until one of the following events occurs:
- Either spouse dies.
- The supported spouse remarries.
- The supported spouse cohabits for 90 days or more with a romantic partner.
Unless the parties agree differently, periodic alimony can normally be reviewed and modified as circumstances require during the divorce process.
Lump-Sum Alimony in South Carolina
When a spouse requires a definite amount of financial support or the parties have agreed on fixed support duty, alimony is usually awarded. It is a fixed total amount that must be paid in one lump sum or over a period of time. Even if one spouse remarries or there is a significant change in circumstances, the sum is fixed and cannot be changed.
Rehabilitative Alimony in South Carolina
When the marriage is short-lived, or the spouse may become self-sufficient through further education and training within the rehabilitative time frame, rehabilitative alimony is frequently provided. Rehabilitative alimony is a set amount that can be paid in one lump sum or over time.
It ends upon the supported spouse’s remarriage or prolonged cohabitation, either spouse’s death or the occurrence of a certain future event. It can also be changed due to unforeseen developments that thwart the supported spouse’s good faith efforts to become self-sufficient or the supporting spouse’s ability to pay rehabilitative alimony.
Reimbursement Alimony in South Carolina
Reimbursement alimony is often awarded when the court determines that the supported spouse needs to be reimbursed from the payor spouse’s future earnings due to conditions or events that occurred during the marriage. When one spouse invests in the education or company of the supporting spouse, this is an example of reimbursement alimony. It is not necessary for the investments to be of a financial nature.
Time and energy spent caring for the children and doing domestic responsibilities are frequently included in reimbursement alimony. Reimbursement alimony is a set amount that can be paid in one lump sum or over time. It ends with the supported spouse’s remarriage or continuous cohabitation or upon the death of either spouse. It cannot be terminated or modified in the future due to changing circumstances. In most courts, this sort of alimony is uncommon.
Separate Maintenance and Support Alimony in South Carolina
Permanent periodic alimony is sometimes referred to as separate support and maintenance when the parties are not yet divorced. It is usually given in cases where a spouse’s support is required while the parties are living apart. Separate maintenance and support are provided on a regular basis, but it ends if the supported spouse continues to cohabitate, if the parties divorce, or if either spouse dies. It is also terminable and adjustable in the event of future changes in circumstances.
Read this article to know info about the child support in South Carolina.
Factors for Calculating Spousal Support in South Carolina
Judges in South Carolina must consider the following elements when determining the kind, amount, and duration of alimony:
- The length of time that the couple has been married.
- The ages of each spouse when they married and when they divorced
- Each spouse’s physical and emotional well-being
- Both spouses’ educational backgrounds and the need for more training or education to reach the spouse’s earning potential.
- Each spouse’s career history and earning potential
- The standard of living of the couple
- Both spouses’ current and anticipated earnings
- Each spouse’s current and anticipated expenses and requirements
- Whether either spouse is the custodial parent of a kid whose condition or circumstances make it difficult for the parent to pursue a job outside the house or full-time work, marital and nonmarital property are awarded to each spouse during the divorce.
- Is there a defect in your marriage?
- Each spouse will face tax repercussions.
- Whether one of the spouses is required by the court to support the other spouse or a kid.
- Any other considerations that the court deems important.
A word about marital infidelity.
The judge will weigh marital wrongdoing, including adultery when deciding on an alimony award. A spouse who commits adultery before the official signing of a documented property or marital settlement agreement or before a permanent order of separate maintenance and support is prohibited from receiving alimony in South Carolina.
Modification and Termination of Alimony and Spousal Support Payments in South Carolina
In South Carolina, most types of alimony can be adjusted if there has been a significant change in circumstances. The parties may have been aware of or unaware of the circumstances at the time alimony was awarded. A proof of:
- The receiving spouse’s remarriage.
- The death of either the paying or receiving spouse.
- The receiving spouse’s ongoing living with another person in a romantic connection for a period of 90 days or more would usually result in the court terminating alimony.
If the receiving spouse and his or her lover frequently split in order to avoid the rule, the court may conclude that continuing cohabitation exists in periods less than 90 days.
Terminating Alimony After Retirement in South Carolina
Supporting spouses who wish to retire from work risk continuing to pay alimony they can no longer afford after they retire. Lawyers and judges in Charleston’s family courts frequently disagree about whether a supporting spouse’s retirement is a sufficient reason to adjust or reduce alimony payments.
In other words, if you present an identical case to a dozen different judges, the spouse will not receive the same legal decision each time. South Carolina’s statute has now been changed to help resolve this legal issue. S.C. Code 20-3-170 states that a supporting spouse’s retirement is sufficient to cause a hearing to determine whether there has been a change of circumstances for alimony purposes.
Factors Regarding Retirement and Alimony in South Carolina
According to the modified Act, the family court must consider the following factors:
- Whether alimony was awarded the intention of retiring;
- The age of the supporting spouse;
- The health of the supportive spouse;
- Whether the retirement is compulsory or optional;
- Whether retirement would result in a reduction in the income of the supporting spouse;
- Any other factors that the court deems relevant
Despite the changes in the legislation, the family court has considerable discretion in this area. In practice, this means that various courts will take different stances on a request to decrease or remove a retiree’s alimony payments, and the results will remain inconsistent.
Duration Of Alimony In South Carolina
The length of your alimony award is determined by the type of support ordered by the court.
Alimony pendente lite
The judge will stop temporary alimony when the divorce is finalised. A post-divorce award is not guaranteed by alimony pendente lite.
Payments stop when the sponsored spouse remarries, cohabitates with a new partner for an extended period of time, or dies. If either spouse shows a change in circumstances, the court may amend the award.
When the paying spouse pays the full amount of alimony, it is called lump-sum alimony. If the supported spouse dies, the lump-sum support also ends. Regardless of a change in circumstances, the court cannot modify the order later.
If the supported spouse remarries or cohabitates, if either spouse dies, or if a certain event occurs in the future, rehabilitative alimony ends. For example, the court may end assistance if the supported spouse completes a degree programme and finds work. If the recipient’s circumstances change in the future, such as the recipient not attending school, involuntary job loss, or abrupt infirmity, either spouse might request a modification of support.
If the supported spouse remarries or cohabitates with a new romantic partner, reimbursement alimony stops if either spouse dies. Regardless of the circumstances, the court will not modify reimbursement alimony in the future.
Separate maintenance is normally paid on a regular basis and ends when the marriage divorces, one of the spouses dies, or the supported spouse cohabitates with a new partner. If circumstances change, either spouse might request a modification of the separate maintenance award in the future.
Enforcing SC Divorce Laws Alimony
You can petition a judge for assistance if your husband isn’t paying alimony as the court order requires. Failure to pay court-ordered alimony is a serious matter, and if your ex is found guilty of failing to pay, a judge can impose a range of sanctions, including an income withholding order (an automatic deduction from your paycheck), penalties, attorney costs, and even a jail sentence.
Alimony and Taxes
Alimony in South Carolina is tax-deductible for the paying spouse and reportable income for the recipient if your divorce was finalized before December 31, 2018. The benefit of a tax deduction is no longer available to paying spouses for any alimony agreements or orders finalized or issued on or after January 1, 2019, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) no longer requires the recipient to record the payments as income.
What Is the Most Common Type of South Carolina Alimony?
Ans. Permanent periodic alimony is most likely to be ordered by South Carolina divorce judges. If this occurs in your divorce, the supporting spouse will be required to make regular payments to the supported spouse (typically every month) for an extended period of time. Permanent alimony is so named because it usually lasts a lifetime.
If one or both of you have a major change in circumstances, your divorce court can increase or lower the amount of permanent alimony. Suppose alimony may be an issue in your divorce case. In that case, you should consult an experienced Mt. Pleasant family law attorney because the amount of permanent alimony is determined by a number of criteria.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony after My Spouse Becomes Self-Supporting?
Ans. Maybe. It will be determined by the sort of alimony awarded. If your divorce judge awards the second sort of alimony, known as rehabilitative alimony, you will not be obligated to pay alimony for the rest of your life. In fact, rehabilitative alimony may come to an end in a pretty short time.
Rehabilitative alimony is often ordered by family law judges to allow the supported spouse to obtain the necessary education or training to become self-sufficient. This type of alimony in South Carolina is typically awarded when:
- The marriage was for a shorter period of time.
- One of the parties did not work during the marriage.
- The supported spouse can become fully employed if given alimony for a sufficient period of time to acquire employable skills.
Can You Get Reimbursed for What You Put into Your Marriage?
Ans. Yes, in a variety of circumstances. A wife or husband frequently works to support a spouse who is pursuing a degree or launching a business. As a result, they both anticipate a prosperous financial future. The supported spouse then decides to divorce when a professional licence is attained, or a business begins to make a profit. The supporting spouse may feel as if he or she has been taken advantage of and has missed out on a better life.
In that case, a divorce court in South Carolina may grant reimbursement alimony, which is the third type of alimony. This sort of alimony compensates the sacrificing spouse for the financial benefits expected from the spouse’s new business or education/license.
When a spouse asks for alimony in South Carolina, the court has the authority to determine a reasonable alimony order based on the couple’s circumstances. The following types of alimony are available under South Carolina law: Pendente lite alimony.
During and after a divorce, alimony is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other. However, many people feel that their financial obligations to their spouse end after the divorce, but this is not necessarily the case.
The court may order a spouse to pay periodic support (typically monthly payments), which is intended to be temporary and only last as long as the supported spouse requires assistance in becoming financially self-sufficient.
Judges in South Carolina must consider the following elements when determining the kind, amount, and duration of alimony: the length of time that the couple has been married. the ages of each spouse when they married and when they divorced, each spouse’s physical and emotional well-being
Alimony can be paid for as long as a lifetime or as little as one month. After alimony is awarded as part of your Charleston, SC divorce, a variety of factors might shorten its duration. You may be obliged to pay alimony for a short amount of time or for the rest of your former spouse’s life.
In South Carolina, judges do not utilize a mathematical equation to calculate alimony, and unlike child support, there are no statutory rules for calculating alimony.
The court has complete discretion over whether alimony is granted and how much alimony is awarded, albeit there are some considerations that the court can examine.
Yes. The fourth type of alimony available in South Carolina is lump sum alimony, which can be ordered by a family court judge. If the parties agree or if unusual circumstances exist, your court may grant lump sum alimony. If the paying spouse has already departed South Carolina, the divorce judge may impose a lump sum payment of alimony in a certain and fixed amount. With a lump-sum alimony judgment in hand, the supported spouse can collect his or her alimony by selling the absent spouse’s real estate or other assets.
Yes. The alimony legislation in South Carolina offers family law judges a lot of leeway in deciding what to do. Your divorce judge may conclude that your case does not fit neatly into one of the five categories of alimony discussed above, resulting in the sixth type of alimony. Instead of imposing a single type of alimony, your judge may decide to combine periodic, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and/or lump-sum alimony into a package arrangement.