Alimony is paid by one spouse to the other as a substitute for the support that is normally incident to the parties’ marital relationship. One starts with the premise that receipt of alimony should place the supported spouse in a position relatively close to that which he/she enjoyed during the marriage. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum payment or in periodic payments over time. It can be permanent or temporary, or rehabilitative support. The facts of each case determine the type of alimony to be paid.
Support paid in an action for separate support and maintenance is called “spousal support”. Support paid in an action for divorce is called “alimony”. Otherwise, they are treated the same and the same factors apply in determining the type of support paid.
Alimony Factors in South Carolina
The laws governing the payment of alimony differ from state to state. In South Carolina, the Family Courts has jurisdiction to award alimony. The South Carolina Code in section 20-3-130 sets out the factors that the Court must consider and give weight to when deciding an award of alimony:
- Duration of the marriage and the ages of the parties; and,
- Physical and emotional health of the parties; and,
- Educational background and training of the parties; and,
- Employment history and earning potential; and,
- Standard of living during the marriage; and,
- Current and reasonably anticipated earnings of the parties; and,
- Current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of the parties; and,
- Marital and nonmarital property of the parties; and,
- Custody of the children; and,
- Marital misconduct or fault of the parties; and,
- Tax consequences to each party; and,
- Any support obligation from a prior marriage; and,
- Other factors that the Court considers relevant.
Types of Alimony in South Carolina
- Permanent, Periodic – The most common type of alimony, it consists of ongoing monthly payments from one spouse to the other with no determined termination date. Permanent, periodic alimony can be modified based on a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. It terminates on the death of either party, the supported spouse’s remarriage, or cohabitation.
- Lump Sum – Less favored than permanent, periodic alimony, lump sum alimony is a specified sum of money that can be paid out in one payment or over time in lump sum payments. This alimony obligation terminates only on the death of the supported spouse. It is non-modifiable and non-terminable.
- Rehabilitative – Rehabilitative alimony is a finite sum to be paid in a lump sum or over time. This type of alimony may be awarded when the Court finds that it is necessary to provide for the rehabilitation of the supported spouse through work training or education. It terminates on the remarriage or cohabitation of the supported spouse or the death of either party. It may be modified based on a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
- Reimbursement – Reimbursement alimony is a finite sum to be paid in one lump sum payment or payable periodically. This type of alimony may be awarded when the Court finds that the supported spouse needs to be reimbursed from the future earnings of the marriage based on events during the marriage. It terminates on the death of either party or the supported spouse’s remarriage or cohabitation. It is non-terminable and non-modifiable.
- Separate Maintenance and Support – This is spousal support. This support is usually paid periodically in cases where a divorce is not sought. It terminates upon the continued cohabitation of the parties or the death of either party, or the parties’ divorce.
Contact a Family Court Lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina
If you need a family court lawyer in the Charleston, South Carolina area contact Bleecker Family Law. Our diverse staff of attorneys offer decades of experience in understanding spousal support and alimony options in the Family Courts, in arbitration, and in mediation. Visit Bleecker Family Law online or call 843-571-2725 today.