Seasoned Mount Pleasant Attorneys Champion Your Rights in Alimony Claims
Experienced lawyers help clients understand spousal support laws in South Carolina
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is financial support sometimes awarded by the family court in separation and divorce cases. Alimony is designed to prevent a divorce from financially devastating a spouse who has no income or who earns substantially less than the other spouse. Spousal support is often one of the most complicated and contentious aspects of a divorce.
For more than 20 years, Barker Family Law has helped clients in all types of financial situations and all types of divorce deal with alimony. When needed, we hire investigators and experts to build a strong case for our clients, whether they are on the paying or receiving end of support.
Factors in determining alimony awards in South Carolina
Often, spouses can reach a settlement agreement that specifies alimony payments. This is the most sensible and least risky arrangement for both spouses, as you are not leaving the decision up to a judge’s broad discretion. The court will look at the following factors in determining alimony:
- Marriage length — The longer the marriage, the greater the spousal support obligations will be.
- The spouses’ physical/emotional condition — A court may order support if one spouse is mentally or physically ill and therefore unable to be self-supporting.
- Education levels — Support may be ordered if one spouse needs additional education or training to earn a sufficient income.
- Employment history — The court considers each spouse’s work history in determining who can afford to pay alimony and whether the other spouse needs it.
- Standard of living — While a change in financial situation is inevitable in a divorce, a court will award alimony that lessens the blow.
- Current and anticipated earnings and expenses — If raises and bonuses are expected or a layoff or large expense is imminent, the court may order more or less alimony.
- Child custody — Courts often consider alimony and child support payments at the same time, as they both impact the family’s ability to get by.
- Misconduct — A spouse who commits adultery is not eligible for alimony in South Carolina.
An experienced divorce lawyer from our firm can help you sort through the factors and either negotiate an appropriate alimony sum or present the strongest case to the family court.
Types of alimony in South Carolina
South Carolina law defines at least four different types of alimony:
- Lump sum — A one-time payment with no future obligation to pay support.
- Reimbursement — Money to be “paid back” by one spouse who benefited from the other spouse’s sacrifice. For example, one spouse earned an advanced college degree while the other spouse worked. The college-educated spouse may have higher future earnings because of the arrangement and may be ordered to reimburse the spouse who worked and now has fewer opportunities. This award can be in a lump sum or periodic payment and will cease when the recipient remarries, lives with someone else long-term, or dies.
- Permanent periodic — One spouse pays a set amount each month. The payments will end when the recipient remarries, lives with someone else long-term or dies. It is modifiable based on changed circumstances.
- Rehabilitation — Alimony paid for a limited time to allow the recipient to increase his/her earning power through additional education or training.
In any type of case, our attorneys can file for a temporary order for alimony so you are able to support yourself while your divorce is pending.
If either your or your spouse’s financial situation changes, you can ask the court to modify rehabilitative or periodic sum spousal support. Lump-sum and reimbursement support cannot be modified; they are owed once ordered by the court.
Contact a knowledgeable Mount Pleasant attorney for alimony assistance
Call Barker Family Law at 843-640-0532 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina family law attorney who provides effective representation in alimony cases.