Alimony in South Carolina-How do Judges Decide?

In South Carolina, alimony is considered a substitute for the support normally incidental to the marital relationship. Spence v. Spence, S.E.2d 683, 684 (1973). “Generally, alimony should place the supported spouse, as nearly as is practical, in the same position he or she enjoyed during the marriage.” Allen v. Allen, 554 S.E.2d 421,(Ct. App. 2001).  A recent South Carolina Supreme Court case discusses these issues in detail, Crossland v. Crossland.

In deciding whether to award alimony, the family court must consider and give appropriate weight to the following factors:

(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce . . . ;

(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;

(3) the educational background of each spouse . . . ;

(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;

(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;

(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;

(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;

(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties . . . ;

(9) custody of the children . . . ;

(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties . . . ;

(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;

(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and

(13) such other factors the court considers relevant.

An award of alimony rests within the sound discretion of the family court and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. Dickert v. Dickert, , 691 S.E.2d 448, 451 (2010).

The important thing to remember is that the Judge decides if your case meet the qualifications for alimony.  There is no absolute right to alimony, even when the other spouse is responsible for the break up of the marriage, such as in the cases of adultery, physical cruelty, etc.  Preparation is the best thing to help improve your changes of getting alimony, if you think you qualify.  And remember adultery is an absolute bar to alimony.

This entry was posted in Alimony, Child Custody, Divorce, equitable division, marital property. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.