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Fort Mill Spousal Support Attorneys

Alimony Orders in South Carolina

Spousal support, which is also called alimony in many legal contexts, is designed to help the spouse of lesser income stay financially stable during and after divorce. If you are entering or are in the middle of a divorce in South Carolina, you should be thinking about how spousal support might be necessary in your case. Will you have to pay it, or will you be the one who will benefit from it?

No matter what side of alimony you are on, Blood Law, PLLC and our Fort Mill spousal support lawyers want to help you figure everything out. For years, we have been the law firm that locals trust with their difficult family law issues. We have cultivated a reputation of professionalism blended with compassion. With us by your side, you can feel confident that your spousal support agreement will be fair.

Talk to us about alimony in South Carolina. Just dial (803) 866-6030 to request an initial consultation.

What is Spousal Support or Alimony?

Spousal support or alimony is typically paid once a month by the spouse of greater income to the other. It is established through a court order or the court’s approval of an agreement made through mediation. In South Carolina, legal separations are not recognized by the court, so spousal support is only available when a married couple is divorcing. No matter the details of spousal support, its underlying purpose is to make sure that neither spouse falls into undue economic hardship just because their marriage ended.

Types of Spousal Support in South Carolina

Not all spousal support orders or agreements are the same. In fact, each case is unique, so the details that go into it will be unique as well. For this reason, South Carolina family law courts can recognize a variety of spousal support types. Blood Law, PLLC can help you determine which spousal support or alimony type will work best for your unique situation.

Different types of spousal support allowed in South Carolina are:

  • Alimony pendente lite: Translated from Latin, “pendente lite” roughly means “pending the suit,” which means this type of alimony is temporary and only exists while the divorce is pending. When the divorce is finalized, alimony pendente lite ends and can be replaced with another form of spousal support.
  • Periodic: One of the most common forms of spousal support, periodic alimony is usually paid once a month and only for a short while after a divorce is finalized.
  • Lump-sum: A lump-sum alimony agreement may be approved by the court if the recipient spouse badly needs financial support. Rather than spacing out alimony payments across many months or possibly years, the paying spouse provides the total amount in one lump sum.
  • Rehabilitative: If the recipient spouse could find gainful employment with better education or training opportunities, rehabilitative alimony might be used. This type of spousal support provides regular alimony payments as long as the recipient spouse is making an honest effort to learn new skills or complete education courses that will help them find gainful employment.
  • Reimbursement: Did you pay for your ex-spouse’s higher education while you were married? You might be able to request reimbursement alimony, which would order them to pay for the financial support you provided for their career or education, even if you are the spouse of greater income now.
  • Separate: In uncommon cases, the court might order one spouse to pay financial support to the other when they are living separately but have not divorced. Separate maintenance is not technically spousal support, but the effect and purpose are very similar.

Does the IRS Care About Your Alimony?

For divorces that were finalized before the end of 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might have expected you to report alimony or spousal support on your tax filing, either as a deduction or income. However, a somewhat recent tax law update removed the reporting requirement and any potential benefits or detriments that came with it. If your spousal support order was finalized after January 1, 2019, and you pay alimony in South Carolina, you can’t claim it as a tax deduction; if you receive alimony, you can’t list it as income.

Making a Fair Spousal Support Agreement

Most people going through a divorce don’t want to see their soon-to-be ex-spouse living in hard times due to financial strains when the divorce ends. They understand the purpose of alimony, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it to be fair. If you are to pay alimony, you will understandably not want it to be too much, and if you are to receive alimony, you won’t want it to be too little.

Our Fort Mill alimony lawyers take pride in being able to fairly approach spousal support cases and disagreements. If your case goes to court, we will be prepared to represent you before the judge and argue why you should pay or receive a certain amount. We know what the court considers for these orders, which helps us build informed cases and arguments.

Factors a South Carolina family law judge will consider when approving or ordering alimony are:

  • Duration of marriage
  • Age of both spouses
  • Physical, emotional, and mental health of each spouse
  • Educational background and employment history of each spouse
  • Current and potential future income of each spouse
  • Standard of living established in the marriage
  • Property awards each spouse received during the divorce
  • Marital misconduct, adultery, or other forms of fault
  • Details of child support to be paid/received if any
  • And more

Can Spousal Support Be Changed in SC?

A spousal support order is not unchangeable. If certain circumstances change and you can’t afford to pay as much alimony, or if you can’t stay financially stable on the alimony amount you receive, you may be able to request a spousal support modification to be approved by the court. For the most part, though, spousal support modifications are used to reduce the amount paid, not increase it, because the argument can be made that the recipient spouse needs to become financially self-sufficient.

Reasons to change a spousal support order or alimony agreement include the following and more:

  • An unexpected job loss suddenly changes the financial situation for one of the spouses.
  • A significant increase or decrease in income occurs due to a career update.
  • Health issues change how much work one of the spouses can complete or how much they must pay each month in medical expenses.
  • The recipient spouse remarries or enters new cohabitation in a relationship that has lasted at least 90 days.
  • An investigation reveals financial fraud or material misrepresentation by either spouse.
  • Both spouses reach a mutual agreement to increase or decrease spousal support payments.

When Does Alimony End in Fort Mill, SC?

Spousal support or alimony can end in various ways and it exists for various durations. In some cases, alimony might only last if the divorce is pending and ends when the divorce is finalized, for example. For others, alimony lasts a predetermined number of months or years, or indefinitely until certain conditions are met.

In any spousal support case, though, it can end early if the recipient spouse remarries or cohabitates with another supportive partner. Also, the death of either spouse will most likely terminate the alimony agreement.

Enforcing Spousal Support Orders

The existence of a spousal support agreement doesn’t mean that your spouse will pay it willingly. Too often, spouses who provide alimony try to shirk the responsibility and just stop making payments without the court’s permission. If your spouse abruptly decides to stop providing spousal support, it can put you in a rough and unfair financial situation—but you can turn to Blood Law, PLLC for help.

Our Fort Mill alimony attorneys can discuss your options for alimony enforcement. South Carolina law allows a family court to enforce alimony in various ways.

Typical spousal support enforcement methods used by the court are:

  • Wage garnishment: Using a process called wage garnishment, a judge can order the paying spouse’s employer to take money out of their paychecks to pay alimony.
  • Intercepted tax refunds: In some cases, it might be possible to intercept a positive tax refund that would have gone to the spouse who is behind on alimony payments. Tax refund interceptions are more common in child support cases, though.
  • Contempt of court: When spousal support is set up by the court, it isn’t just a suggestion, it is a court order. Intentionally ignoring a spousal support order and refusing to pay it can be seen as acting in contempt of court, a serious legal violation. Someone who is found to be in contempt of court can be ordered to pay fines and/or serve jail time.

Of course, sometimes alimony becomes too much to pay for logical and fair reasons. If you are being accused of not paying alimony but you had a good reason to not, talk to our attorneys. We offer legal representation to help you figure out your best options and better explain your side of the situation to your ex-spouse and the court.

Learn All You Should Know About Alimony – Call Now

Whether you need alimony to support you or think you will have to pay spousal support each month, Blood Law, PLLC in Fort Mill has you covered. Our highly experienced team of family lawyers is ready to overcome any challenges and answer any questions you have about spousal support or alimony. We can walk you through every step of the process, so you can feel seen, heard, and confident that the alimony arrangement will be fair for everyone.

Call (803) 866-6030 or use an online contact form to learn more about alimony in South Carolina.

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