n most divorces where one party asks the other for spousal support, it quickly becomes a point of contention. Whether you're a prospective recipient or payor in a spousal support dispute, understanding what to expect from the spousal support process in South Carolina is vital if you want to obtain an optimal outcome in your case.
At Blood Law, PLLC, our Greenville spousal support attorneys know the South Carolina spousal support system inside and out. We'll work with you to defend your rights and assets, so you can get the spousal support judgment you deserve.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
What's the Purpose of Alimony?
When a court presides over an alimony case, it has one major objective: Try and ensure that both parties can maintain the same quality of life post-divorce that they enjoyed while married.
Alimony, or spousal support, helps the court achieve that objective. Every alimony case is different, and the amount of alimony you'll owe (or be owed) depends on various factors. The unique circumstances of your case and how you present evidence to the court play a huge role in the outcome of your alimony case,
Different Types of Alimony in SC
In South Carolina, there are six basic types of alimony:
- Separate maintenance alimony. Separate maintenance is unique. In situations where spouses live apart but do not wish to divorce (in other words, are legally separated), the court can prescribe separate maintenance to help one spouse remain financially stable.
- Alimony pendente lite. "Pendente lite" alimony, also called temporary alimony, is only in effect during the divorce. As soon as the divorce is finalized, the alimony is discontinued. This is common when a spouse needs help finding a new place of living during the divorce but can support themself financially after receiving that support and finalizing the divorce.
- Lump-sum alimony. In a lump-sum alimony arrangement, the payor just has to make a one-time payment. This is more common when the payor has some disposable income and the recipient needs a defined amount of alimony to become financially stable.
- Rehabilitative alimony. Sometimes, an alimony recipient doesn't have the necessary training or job experience to be financially independent once the divorce is finalized. This is common in situations where one spouse has acted as a stay-at-home spouse or parent, or has been out of the job market for a certain amount of time. While the recipient either receives the training or experience they need to support themself, the payor supplies rehabilitative alimony.
- Periodic alimony. In situations where an alimony recipient has the capability to support themself but needs some time to do so (for example, they need to find a better job), the payor may supply them with periodic alimony. Periodic alimony often lasts for a set amount of time and has certain stipulations tied to it. For example, the recipient may need to provide the court with evidence they're continuing to apply for a certain number of jobs each week to keep receiving alimony.
- Reimbursement alimony. Let's say you supported your spouse as they went through medical school, under the assumption you would both reap the rewards once they became a doctor. However, they file for a divorce shortly before they receive their degree. You may be entitled to reimbursement alimony, and your soon-to-be-ex may have to pay you back for the schooling you subsidized for them.
What Factors Will the Court Consider in My Alimony Case?
Courts have a fair amount of leeway when it comes to deciding alimony cases, which is why receiving good legal counsel is so crucial during alimony cases.
Some factors a South Carolina court will consider during alimony cases include:
- How long the marriage lasted. A longer marriage typically equates to a more substantial alimony arrangement, especially in cases where both parties are old or one is incapable of supporting themself.
- Each spouse's mental and physical health. If your spouse cannot support themself due to a physical or mental condition, you may need to supply them with more alimony to compensate.
- Each spouse's current employment, education, and earning potential. These factors play a large role in deciding how long an alimony recipient may need to receive periodic or rehabilitative alimony for before they can reasonably be expected to support themself.
- The standard of living established during the marriage. As we mentioned at the top of this page, courts try and ensure both parties maintain the same quality of life post-divorce they experienced while married.
- The outcome of the property division process. For example, whether you retain the entirety of the marital home in your property division case could impact how much spousal support you need to pay (or receive).
- Whether either party is already engaged in a previous alimony, child custody, or child support arrangement. If you have alimony, custody, or child support from a previous marriage (or child custody from your current marriage), it could impact the outcome of your case.
- How the proposed alimony arrangement would impact the payor. Courts do try and ensure that the payor's life isn't negatively impacted beyond a certain extent by the alimony arrangement.
- Whether marital misconduct plays a role in the divorce. Courts may award the recipient a more or less generous alimony arrangement, depending on whether marital misconduct factored into the divorce (and if so, how).
At Blood Law, PLLC, our Greenville alimony lawyers will work with you to build a compelling, comprehensive case that justifies an equitable outcome in your spousal support case. We'll do everything in our power to help you protect your rights and pursue your best interests in and out of the courtroom.
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Children Come First
With the complexities of family law, we put the well-being and safety of your children at the forefront of your case.
When you work with Blood Law, PLLC, you work with our entire team. Everyone is here to support you through each step.
We create personalized plans for each client while setting realistic expectations on the possible outcomes of the case.
From our first phone call to final signing, our team goes above and beyond to make sure you're getting the attention you deserve.