Award of Alimony – Factors

Per South Carolina Code Section 20-3-130 (C), the Court will consider the following factors when making an award of Spousal Support or Alimony:

(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties;

(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;

(3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential;

(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;

(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;

(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;

(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;

(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action;

(9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature;

(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties;

(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;

(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and

(13) such other factors the court considers relevant.

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In my experience, the most compelling factors involve the duration of the marriage, earning potential, and custody of the children. For example, if you have been married for a short term of time it will be more difficult to get an award of Alimony than if you had been married for a long time. Or, if there is a significant discrepancy in earning potential between the parties, the lower earner may be entitled to an award of Alimony.

Please also take note of the “catch all” factor listed hereinabove at number (13), as the Court will consider any other factor that it considers relevant. Therefore, please nonetheless discuss it with your attorney if you believe you deserve an award of alimony because of a factor that is not listed.

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Please remember that each case is unique. If you have any questions about Alimony, or divorce in general, we urge you to contact us.  In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, easy appointment scheduling, and payment plans available. Call today and schedule your free confidential consultation.

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