In a South Carolina divorce, there are many factors that will be considered as the case moves forward. That includes child custody, child support, visitation and property division. Alimony is also a common concern. While people might categorize alimony as a singular issue, there is nuance as to how it is determined and paid. In short, there are different kinds of alimony awards in a family law case. The circumstances will dictate which will be used. For the former spouse who is ordered to pay alimony and the spouse who expected to receive it, it is wise to understand the legal factors that are considered.
The various kinds of alimony that can be awarded
There are four basic categories of alimony: periodic alimony, lump-sum alimony, rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony. All will be based on the circumstances. Periodic alimony will have a defined time for when it will be paid. It will end when the receiving party remarries or resides with another person. Lump-sum alimony is paid all at once or paid over a certain time-period. It is different from periodic alimony as the total amount to be paid is known and once it has been paid in full, the obligation ends.
Rehabilitative alimony can be paid periodically or in a lump sum. This is made to help the former spouse become sufficiently established to self-support. It can include getting proper education or training to get a certain job. Reimbursement alimony will repay the former spouse for contributions that were made to the paying spouse during the marriage. This can involve having taken care of the home as the other spouse was starting a business, getting education and training. Essentially, it is repaying the spouse for what he or she sacrificed.
Having legal assistance can be crucial in family law cases
While these categories of alimony are relatively self-explanatory, there are a litany of issues that can arise when alimony is determined. The amount is even more important than the type of alimony that is awarded. Factors that come up when the amount is determined include the ages of the parties when they got married and divorced; how long they were married; the conditions that sparked the divorce; employment, education and reaching self-sufficiency; how property was divided; and more. Consulting with a family law firm that understands all aspects of divorce can be helpful for the paying spouse and the receiving spouse.