Alimony factors in South Carolina can be determined by a court or through a written separation agreement. It is meant to financially support the lower-earning spouse and maintain their standard of living after divorce. South Carolina courts consider various factors such as a spouse’s employment history, emotional condition, educational background, and income potential when deciding on an alimony award.
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What Alimony Factors in South Carolina Are Considered?
When calculating alimony in South Carolina, the court will consider several factors to determine a fair and equitable amount. These factors include:
- The length of the marriage: Generally speaking, a longer marriage is often accompanied by an increased need for alimony payments.
- The current and expected future earning capacity of each spouse: This includes things like job prospects, previous education, and additional training or experience.
- The ages of each spouse: Younger spouses are often able to recover financially more quickly than their older counterparts.
- The health of each spouse: Illness or disability can affect either spouse’s ability to work, and therefore their need for alimony payments.
- Income sources other than employment: This may include passive income from investments, nonmarital properties, inheritances, and other sources.
- The tax consequences of the alimony award: Alimony payments are taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payor.
- The non-monetary contributions made to the marriage by each spouse: These may include being a homemaker or taking care of children for a period of time during the marriage.
- Personal conduct: This includes adultery, abuse, desertion, or other behavior that hurts the marriage.
Non-Alimony and Support Awards
When making decisions in a divorce or legal separation, the family court judge in South Carolina looks at many factors when determining if alimony should be paid and how much it should be.
In cases where the court decides that alimony should not be awarded, they may instead opt to make a support award. A support award is a financial award from one spouse to another that does not qualify as alimony.
In South Carolina, courts may consider the presence of continued cohabitation as a factor in determining alimony awards. If either spouse is living with someone else in a romantic relationship that has financial implications, the court may take this into account as it can impact the lower-earning spouse’s ability to maintain the standard of living established.
Child Support and Alimony
In South Carolina, child support and alimony are significant components of family law. The state has legislation in place to safeguard the financial interests of children and spouses. The court takes into account various factors outlined in the South Carolina Code of Laws when determining an appropriate amount for these payments.
When awarding child support payments, the court will take into account factors such as:
- The age of the dependent child
- The current and expected future income of both parents
- Medical insurance costs
- Daycare costs
- Educational and anticipated expenses
- Non-monetary contributions made by either parent
When determining alimony payments, the court will take into account factors similar to those mentioned earlier. The court will also consider the length of the marriage and any instances of marital misconduct.
Retirement of Supporting Spouse
In South Carolina, the retirement of the supporting spouse can impact the determination of alimony. The court takes into account whether the supported spouse will experience financial disadvantage as a result of the supporting spouse’s retirement. If so, the court may grant alimony as compensation for this loss.
The amount and duration of alimony awarded in these cases will depend on several factors, including:
The Cost of Living
South Carolina courts will also consider the cost of living for each spouse when determining an alimony award. This includes things like housing costs, groceries, and transportation. In some cases, the court may order a higher payment of alimony if one spouse is living in a much more expensive area than the other.
Rehabilitation and Job Training
In some cases, the court may order a supported spouse to attend rehabilitation or job training programs before awarding an alimony agreement. The purpose of these programs is to improve the supported spouse’s ability to eventually become self-supporting.
What are the Types of Alimony in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, alimony, also known as “spousal support,” is ordered in divorce cases to help one party maintain their standard of living. Different types of alimony are available based on factors such as marriage length, financial resources, and needs of the supported spouse.
Forms of alimony in South Carolina include:
- Permanent alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to a supported spouse for an indefinite period, usually until the receiving party dies or remarries. The amount and duration of permanent alimony can be modified if circumstances change.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is designed to help the receiving dependent spouse become self-supporting by providing funds for job training, education, or other rehabilitative measures.
- Temporary alimony: This type of periodic alimony is awarded while the divorce is pending and until a decision is reached regarding permanent alimony. The amount and duration can be changed if circumstances change.
- Lump-sum alimony: This type of reimbursement alimony is a one-time payment that is typically used to equalize the distribution of marital property. Lump sum payments may also be awarded for a specified period or in place of other types of alimony.
Reducing or Terminating Alimony After Retirement in South Carolina
In South Carolina, alimony is meant to provide financial support to the spouse who earns less income or does not have a steady job. The court considers many factors when determining whether alimony should be awarded, including the length of the marriage, each person’s earning capacity and financial needs, and other relevant circumstances.
The court may also consider whether either party will be retiring while alimony is still being paid. If the supporting spouse will be retiring, the court may reduce or terminate alimony payments.
If you or your spouse are considering retirement and you are receiving or paying spousal support, it is important to consult with a qualified divorce attorney to understand how retirement may affect your alimony arrangement.
Can An Award of Alimony be Changed by the Family Court in South Carolina?
Alimony obligation awards in South Carolina can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order. Either party can ask the court to increase or decrease the amount of alimony awarded.
Reasons for modifying monthly payments of alimony awards in South Carolina include changes in income, marital status, retirement, and health. Alimony may be terminated if the receiving spouse becomes self-supporting or if the paying spouse dies.
Speak to Our Greenville Alimony Lawyers Now!
If you’re getting a divorce in South Carolina, it’s important to know about alimony. Alimony is a court-ordered payment for financial support after the divorce. Your spouse might have to pay it or you might receive it.
Our family law attorneys at Greenville Family Attorneys can explain the law and your rights. Contact us for a free consultation.