When Facing Tough Times… You Need Someone You Can Trust
When it feels like things are falling apart, the Summerville alimony attorneys at TMW Law are here to help you start putting it back together again.
Alimony is an important part of SC divorce law — you are entitled to continue the same standard of living that you enjoyed when you were married, even if your spouse was the primary breadwinner for the family.
Alimony can take many forms. It can be a set payment that is made each month, or it can be a lump-sum that is paid all at once or in several installments. It can also provide you with some financial relief as you complete school or job training to maximize your earning potential, particularly if you have supported your spouse by taking care of the household as they completed their education and job training.
The Summerville alimony lawyers at TMW Law help our clients to get alimony when they are entitled to it, just as we help our clients fight against unreasonable demands for alimony when our client’s spouse is not entitled to it.
We will do everything that is legally and ethically possible to help you achieve your goals, including fighting for alimony or fighting against an alimony award.
Whenever possible, we will help you to reach an agreement with your spouse before you get to court. This may include the payment of alimony as well as agreements on child support, child custody, child visitation, and the division of marital assets. When an agreement cannot be reached, we will fight for your rights and your financial security, gather the evidence you need, and present it to a family court judge.
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How We Can Help You
We can provide legal guidance when you:
- Are considering a separation or divorce and know you will need financial assistance in the form of alimony
- Are facing unreasonable demands from a spouse who is not entitled to alimony
- Need a temporary order or settlement agreement that provides for separate support and maintenance
- Need to collect unpaid alimony from your former spouse
- Need to modify an alimony order based on a change in circumstances
If you have questions about alimony, including whether you are entitled to alimony, how much alimony you can get under SC law, or how to modify an existing order for payment of alimony, give us a call at (843) 891-6100.
We’ll help you by:
- Meeting with you to learn about your situation and to find out what your goals are
- Investigating your case and gathering the evidence you will need to persuade the court that your spouse should pay alimony or that you should not pay alimony, depending on your circumstances
- Filing any required pleadings or motions with the court
- Negotiating with your former spouse or their attorney to reach an agreement as to the amount of alimony that must be paid
- Trying your case in front of a family court judge and asking the court to order relief when an agreement cannot be reached
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Alimony Required in SC?
Alimony is not required when a couple divorces in SC, but the family court may order alimony in appropriate cases.
Alimony is often ordered when one spouse needs financial support to continue the standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage, when the marriage was long-term or when there is a significant difference in each spouse’s earning potential or education level.
What Factors Does the Court Consider When Awarding Alimony?
SC law contains a list of factors that the family court must consider when deciding whether to award alimony and the appropriate amount of alimony that should be paid.
SC Code Section 21-3-130(C) lists the factors that the family court should consider when deciding whether to award alimony, including:
- The length of the marriage — you are more likely to be awarded alimony if you were married for 30 years than if you were married for one year
- Each person’s physical and emotional health
- Each spouse’s earning capacity and educational level
- The couple’s standard of living while they were married
- Each spouse’s current and expected future income, expenses, and needs
- Whether the parties are paying alimony or child support from prior marriages
- The amount of property owned by each spouse
- Whether one spouse’s income potential is limited due to child custody
- Marital misconduct
- Any other factors that the court thinks are relevant
Can I Get Alimony if My Spouse is Claiming Adultery?
SC law says that you cannot get alimony if you have committed adultery, if the adultery happened before:
- A written separation agreement was signed; or
- The court entered a permanent order for separate support and maintenance.
If one spouse proves adultery as a ground for divorce, that will prevent any award of alimony. If a couple separates and one begins dating other people before the court awards alimony or the parties have entered into a formal separation agreement, that will also bar alimony.
Are There Different Types of Alimony in SC?
SC has several different types of alimony that could be awarded, including:
- Periodic alimony: Paid each month until the supported spouse remarries, lives with another partner continuously, or dies, or the order is modified based on a change in circumstances
- Lump sum alimony: A set amount that is paid all at once or over time that cannot be modified unless the supported spouse dies
- Rehabilitative alimony: Intended to help the supported spouse get the education or job training they need to maximize their earning potential (rehabilitative alimony can be modified later under some circumstances)
- Reimbursement alimony: Designed to reimburse the supported spouse for losses incurred during the marriage, reimbursement alimony is usually a set amount that is paid all at once or in installments, and it cannot be modified based on a change in circumstances.
- Separate support and maintenance: Monthly payments similar to periodic alimony where the couple is living separate and apart but is not seeking a divorce
How Can I Enforce Alimony?
If your former spouse is not making their alimony payments as required by the court, we can file a Rule to Show Cause asking the court to enforce the alimony order and to hold your former spouse in contempt of court if they refuse to pay.
On the other hand, if you are required to pay alimony and you cannot make the payments due to a change in circumstances, we may be able to ask the court to modify the original court order to change the amount of alimony required, either in response to a Rule to Show Cause or, preferably, before you fall behind on your payments.
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