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How is alimony determined in South Carolina?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2023 | Family Law

There is an assumption that both spouses share each other’s income during a marriage. Therefore, divorce can significantly impact the economic status of a non-wage or low-wage earning spouse. 

The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a spouse so that both parties can maintain their lifestyle. 

South Carolina’s six types of alimony

There are several factors the court considers when determining alimony, including:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Ages of both parties
  • The physical and emotional condition of each spouse
  • The educational background of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s employment history and earning potential
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
  • Current and anticipated earnings and expenses
  • Marital misconduct or fault
  • Tax consequences

In South Carolina, it’s understood that everyone’s situation is unique and that circumstances can vary during and after a divorce. There are six different alimony types, each serving a different purpose.

  1. Periodic alimony is typically ongoing payments made regularly, often until the recipient spouse remarries or either spouse dies.
  2. Lump-sum alimony involves a one-time payment instead of ongoing support.
  3. Rehabilitative alimony provides support while the recipient spouse obtains the necessary training or education to reenter the workforce or become more self-sufficient.
  4. Reimbursement alimony may be awarded if one spouse helped contribute to the education of the other during the marriage, or helped to advance their career.
  5. Separate maintenance and support is similar to periodic alimony but is awarded when the parties are living separately, but there is no final decision about divorce or property division.
  6. Other is a catch-all category, including temporary alimony paid during divorce or any other form of spousal support the court deems appropriate.

Ultimately, the judge determines the amount of alimony to ensure each spouse’s financial stability.