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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
One of the first questions that many of our divorce clients have is: “I depend on my spouse for financial support; can I get alimony?”
The answer depends on many things, but a simple rule of thumb is, if the marriage was of short duration, probably not. If the marriage lasted longer and you have been dependent on your spouse’s income, however, the court is more likely to order alimony payments.
Your SC divorce lawyer at Axelrod & Associates will help you to determine whether you are entitled to alimony and how much the alimony payments should be. Your spouse and their attorney may agree to reasonable alimony payments, or the court may have to decide the issue for you.
Alimony is financial support that is paid to a dependent spouse upon divorce, and it is based on the needs of the dependent spouse. There are many factors that the courts use to determine alimony, including:
In some cases, alimony may also be ordered as part of a temporary order for separate support and maintenance while you and your spouse are separated.
When they get married, many people sacrifice their career to take care of the home and children. Though this does not receive direct payment, it is a valued part of family life. Without this contribution, the earning parent would have less freedom to make money outside of the home. Fortunately, the law recognizes these sacrifices when determining alimony.
Individuals who have put their career on hold will likely have a more difficult time finding a job due to a gap in their resume. They may need to seek vocational retraining to participate in the workforce. Since they had relied on their spouse’s income, their financial situation is a direct result of the divorce and not of poor planning. As a result, the court frequently grants alimony payments to stay-at-home spouses to help them rebuild their lives with some financial stability after divorce.
This is not the only scenario in which spousal support payments are required. However, individuals who stay home and care for the house and children will be accounted for during spousal support determinations.
There are different ways that alimony payments in SC can be structured, such as:
Lump sum alimony is paid in one installment rather than monthly payments over time. This form of alimony is attractive to the spouse paying alimony if they want to get it over with up front, and the prospect of one large payment may also be attractive to the spouse receiving alimony.
Most people think of alimony in terms of monthly, or periodic, payments. The benefit of periodic alimony payments is that it provides a steady source of income that compensates for the loss of the former spouse’s contributions. Periodic alimony payments can be temporary or permanent.
This is “rehabilitative alimony” or “reimbursement alimony” paid only for a certain period. It is designed to allow the former spouse receiving alimony time to get back on their feet, to train for a new job, to complete an education so that they can enter the work force, or to reimburse the former spouse for previous financial contributions.
Any order to pay alimony can be modified as circumstances change; or the payment of alimony can be enforced through the court if the paying spouse is not meeting his or her obligations.
The duration of your spousal support payments depends on several factors. The factor that most affects the duration of spousal support is the duration of the marriage. If you are only married for a short amount of time, you will likely not be required to pay spousal support at all. The support duration can range from only a few months to the rest of your lives. There is no set equation to determine how long they will last.
The duration of the marriage, the income of both spouses, and the earning capacity of both spouses all contribute to spousal support determinations. The judge will ultimately decide how much the payments should be and how long they should last. Your attorney will have the opportunity to argue for your desired spousal support agreement. If there are any mitigating factors, they can bring them forward before the decision becomes final.
The most common type of spousal support or alimony in South Carolina is permanent periodic support. This kind of support provides the receiving spouse with regular payments that are similar to an income paycheck. This creates a sense of normalcy and helps the spouse build their new non-married life. Many people opt to go back to school or go through occupational retraining during this time.
The court will look at the complete picture of your situation when determining if you qualify for alimony. There is no set equation or standard that requires spousal support. In general, if you have been married for a significant amount of time, you are eligible for alimony payments. The state also assesses the career sacrifices you made and the work that you did in the home to determine whether you should receive alimony payments.
If you are considering separation or divorce and have questions about whether you are entitled to alimony payments, call your Myrtle Beach divorce attorney at Axelrod & Associates today at 843-353-3449 or complete our contact form to set up an initial consultation.