What is Alimony and Who Can Receive It?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment made from one spouse to another after a divorce. It is used to help the receiving spouse maintain the same standard of living they had during the marriage. This is especially important if they were financially dependent on their partner.
Typically, the lower-earning spouse receives alimony, but there are occasional exceptions.
In South Carolina, alimony is based on a variety of factors such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The respective ages of the spouses
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- Each spouse’s physical and emotional health
- The standard of living spouses had during the marriage
- The marital misconduct of either spouse, such as abuse, neglect, infidelity, and so on
Not every divorce will involve alimony. Courts award spousal support on a case-by-case basis, attempting to create agreements that are fair and reasonable.
Different Types of Alimony in South Carolina
Permanent Periodic Alimony
This is ongoing, regular support paid by one spouse to the other indefinitely. It ends only when the recipient remarries or dies.
This support is intended to help the recipient become self-supporting over time, often by also providing financial assistance for education or training.
Lump Sum Alimony
This is a one-time payment made by one spouse to the other, often as part of a divorce settlement agreement.
Courts award this type when one spouse has supported the other through education or training that benefited both parties.
How Long Does Alimony Last in South Carolina?
This all depends on the type of spousal support the court orders. Looking at the list above, you will see examples of temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony.
Temporary alimony may be awarded during the divorce process, but it could end when the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative alimony helps the receiving party become self-sufficient. It can have a time limit, or it can end once the receiving spouse meets a certain goal. Permanent alimony, on the other hand, is awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse is unable to support themselves.
How Is Alimony Terminated in South Carolina?
Alimony can be terminated:
- If the receiving spouse remarries, their alimony typically ends.
- If the receiving spouse enters into a supportive, romantic relationship with another person, this could be grounds for termination. It normally ends immediately if this person remarries.
You can sometimes modify alimony payments as well. If the paying spouse has a significant, semi-permanent life change, this may be justifiable grounds for modification. Examples include illness, injury, or a change in employment (through no fault of the payor).
Terminating alimony is a legal process and requires a court order, so seek counsel from an experienced attorney when taking this step.
Masella Law Firm, P.A. is here to help keep spousal support fair and reasonable for both parties. Whether you are the payor or receiver, we are here for you. You can schedule a free consultation with our team online, or you can call our office at (803) 938-4952.