Spartanburg Family Law Attorneys Help with Alimony Decisions in South Carolina Divorce Cases
Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not automatically granted to the ex-wife in a divorce. In fact, the court in a South Carolina divorce can award alimony to either the husband or the wife. In addition, the judge will only award alimony, also known as spousal support, if it is requested by one of the spouses. If that request is opposed by the other spouse, then the judge will have to hold a hearing and decide whether the case for alimony has been proven or is not supported by the facts. The family law attorneys at The Cate Law Firm represent parties in all aspects of divorce in Spartanburg and surrounding areas, including the question of alimony.
Types of Alimony in South Carolina
Below is a description of the different types of alimony which may be granted in a divorce in South Carolina:
Periodic – This means that payments are made on a periodic basis, such as monthly, for a set period of time.
Lump Sum – This means a certain amount of alimony is awarded, to be paid all at once or possibly in a number of installment payments.
Rehabilitative – Rehabilitative alimony is an amount the court decides is necessary to help a spouse gain the education, training or job skills necessary to get back into the workforce and become self-supporting.
Reimbursement – If one spouse contributed to the education or helped to advance the career of the other during the marriage, the court may make an alimony award that reimburses the spouse for the contribution or sacrifices made. This could include situations where the spouse directly paid for the other spouse to obtain higher education, or where one spouse worked and managed the household while the other attended school.
Separate Maintenance and Support – This type of alimony may be granted when a couple splits and is living apart, even though they are not seeking a divorce at that time.
Pendente Lite – Alimony pendente lite is a temporary award the judge may make when the divorce petition is filed to help a spouse cover living expenses during the divorce proceedings.
Depending upon the type of alimony, an award may or may not be modifiable at a later date if circumstances change that would justify a post-divorce modification.
Factors that Can Influence the Court’s Alimony Decision
As is the case in deciding the division of property, South Carolina law directs the family court judge to consider a long list of factors in deciding whether or not to grant alimony, what type of alimony to award, and how much to order. These factors below are in fact very similar to the factors that the court looks at in deciding the equitable apportionment of property:
- The length of the marriage
- The ages of the parties at the time of marriage and divorce
- The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
- Educational background and the need for any additional training or education
- Each spouse’s employment history and earning potential
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Current income and probable future earnings
- Current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs
- Marital and non marital property, including the division of property made in the divorce
- The child custody arrangement and whether the custodial parent can work outside the home or must stay home to care for the children
- Any marital misconduct or fault of either party in causing the divorce
- The tax consequences of an alimony award
- Whether either party has an existing support obligation from a previous marriage
- Other factors the court deems relevant
Several of these factors are highly subjective, and the judge’s determination will be based on the evidence presented and arguments made by the parties through their attorneys. Whether you are seeking or opposing an alimony award, you will want to make sure you have strong, effective representation from family law attorneys who are knowledgeable and experienced in South Carolina alimony laws.
Help for Alimony Issues in South Carolina Divorce Cases
The attorneys at The Cate Law Firm have over 50 years of combined experience in South Carolina family law matters. We can help you to work out a reasonable agreement with your spouse on the issue of alimony, or represent your interests in court when an agreement cannot be reached. In South Carolina alimony matters, as with all issues related to divorce, you will find our lawyers to be strong, dedicated advocates for our clients. In Spartanburg and surrounding communities, contact The Cate Law Firm for advice and assistance regarding alimony in your divorce.