Spousal support or alimony is appropriate in certain situations when a marriage ends. Spousal support is not awarded in all cases and there are different kinds of spousal support. Both the spouse who is seeking support (the recipient) and the person who may be required to pay (the payor) must understand the laws related to alimony and must make informed choices to protect their financial interests throughout the divorce process.
Spousal support in a South Carolina divorce is not a given, and there are different kinds of support obligations. Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC has extensive experience representing couples dealing with money issues during divorce. We can help you if you are seeking support or if your spouse is pursuing a court order to require you to pay alimony. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.
Understanding the Rules for Spousal Support in a South Carolina Divorce
Spousal support in a South Carolina divorce is appropriate when one spouse earns significantly more money than the other and/or if a lower earning spouse would suffer a severe decline in quality of life when the marriage ends. Traditionally, spousal support was awarded to a wife after she and her husband separated because the husband was usually the primary breadwinner. Today, this is not necessarily the case. A wife could be ordered to pay support for her husband, or vice versa.
If you have a premarital agreement that addresses the issue of spousal support in a South Carolina divorce, that agreement usually controls and sets the rules for whether alimony is paid (and how much is required). However, it is sometimes possible to argue that a premarital agreement should be invalid or provisions on support not applied.
If there is no prenuptial contract, you and your spouse can either agree on an appropriate amount for spousal support or the issue may be litigated and a family court judge will make the decision on who should pay and the appropriate amount to be paid.
Under the South Carolina code in § 20-3-130, four types of spousal support are possible in a divorce situation. These include:
- Permanent periodic alimony– Paid on an ongoing basis until the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the recipient spouse.
- Rehabilitative alimony– A finite sum that is paid either in a lump sum or periodically until remarriage of the recipient spouse; death of either spouse; the inability of the paying spouse to continue making payments; or a specific future event occurs. Rehabilitative alimony is often used to give a recipient spouse time to renew educational credentials or find a job that makes it possible to be self-supporting.
- Lump sum alimony– A set amount of spousal support is paid either all at once or over time. The amount due cannot be changed by future circumstances.
- Reimbursement alimony– A finite sum of money that will be paid all at once or over time to reimburse the recipient spouse for contributions made to the paying spouse’s career. These contributions may have been non-financial or economic contributions.
Kuhn & Kuhn, LLC can assist you in determining if any of these types of alimony are appropriate in your divorce and can help you with protecting your financial future as you end your marriage. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.