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South Carolina Alimony
Alimony

According to South Carolina Code, section 20-3-130, the courts award alimony in any divorce or action for separate maintenance and support, commonly known as a legal separation. The court decides the necessity of alimony on a case-by-case basis.

The court can award alimony on a temporary basis during the divorce or legal separation action or on a limited or permanent time afterward.

In South Carolina, either party may seek spousal support. The court considers the situation of the parties, their contributions during marriage, their income and other factors in considering support. When the interests of justice make it necessary, under South Carolina law, the parties to a divorce may seek alimony if there is a disparity between the parties earning abilities.

South Carolina allows courts to award alimony only after they consider a number of factors. Unlike many other states, South Carolina also permits courts to consider marital misconduct as a factor in alimony, and

the court may not award alimony to any spouse who commits adultery before the court issues a written property settlement or permanent order of separate maintenance.

Whenever the circumstances of the parties or the financial ability of the payor changes, either party may apply to the court for an order decreasing or increasing alimony or terminating payments. The court listens to both parties regarding any modification.

In South Carolina alimony influences the distribution of property, and it can become intricately involved in a divorce settlement. When spouses are unable to reach an agreement on this issue, the Family Court can order support on a case-by-case basis.

Support payments may be deducted from federal taxes, and the recipient must pay income tax on the payments. The spouse receiving alimony must claim payments as income if it is mandated by court order.

Types of Alimony

Alimony may be awarded for a short period, long period, permanently, or in a lump sum payment upon dissolution. The court will hear the parties evidence and decide duration of support based on what it determines to be fair.

Factors Considered by the Court

In South Carolina alimony is discretionary. According to the Code of Laws for South Carolina - Chapter 3; Sections 20-3-120, 20-3-130, 20-3-140, the Family Court orders support from one spouse to the other on a case-by-case basis, based on the following factors:

  • the length of the marriage and the ages of the spouses;
  • the health condition of each spouse;
  • the educational background of each spouse and the ability to produce income;
  • the past employment and earning potential of each spouse;
  • the standard of living established while married;
  • the current incomes of each spouse;
  • the current expenses of each spouse;
  • the assets of each spouse;
  • custody of the children;
  • the tax consequences to each spouse;
  • the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and
  • such other factors the court considers relevant.

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