Some of the questions my clients frequently ask involve alimony.  How much alimony is my spouse going to have to pay me?  How much alimony am I going to have to pay?  How is alimony determined?  How long am I going to have to pay alimony?  How long will I receive alimony?  Is there anything that can keep me from having to pay alimony?  

These are all good questions, and there are many factors that will determine the answer to the questions.  One of the hardest things about South Carolina alimony is determining the amount.  In South Carolina, there is no set formula for determining an amount of alimony. 

Frequently Asked Alimony Questions & Answers

Here are the answers to some of the most-asked alimony questions:

1. What does alimony mean? What is the definition?

Alimony means the payments a spouse receives from his/her ex-spouse or soon-to-be ex-spouse. Alimony can also be called spousal support.

2. What is the purpose of alimony?

Alimony is supposed to help you get back on your feet following a divorce or to help you maintain the same standard of living you enjoyed during your marriage. There are many types of alimony. Some types help you gain qualifications to get a job, like schooling or training. Some types continue on until you remarry or until one party passes away.

3. How is alimony determined?

Alimony is determined by many factors. A judge can use any of these factors, along with the facts of the case, to make the final decision on whether alimony is ordered and for what amount.

Some of these factors are:

  • How long have you been married?
  • How old were you when you got married?
  • How much education and training do your spouse and you have?
  • Do either of you need additional education or training to reach your income potential?
  • Are both of you physically able to work without a health limitation?
  • Does one of you suffer from an emotional condition that limits the ability to work?
  • When, where, and for how long have each of you been employed or unemployed?
  • How much is each of you earning now?
  • How much could each of you earn if you were fully employed?
  • What are your respective living expenses?
  • What property will each of you have after you are divorced?
  • Who will have custody of your children?
  • How much child visitation time will the non-custodial parent have with your children?
  • Do any of your children have a condition that will limit the ability of either parent to work?
  • Did marital misconduct (such as adultery) cause your divorce?

4. How is alimony calculated?

There is no specific formula used to calculate alimony in South Carolina. Alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis using the factors set out in law. Alimony is decided by the judge based on a number of factors. 

5. Do you always get alimony in a divorce?

No, you don’t always get alimony in a divorce. Alimony is never guaranteed and only ordered if the Family Court judge deems it necessary. This determination is always made depending on the particular facts of the case. A judge will first determine if you or your spouse need alimony payments and if those payments will create an undue hardship on the payor spouse. 

6. Is alimony taxable?

Although alimony used to be taxable as income, it is no longer considered taxable income. 

7. Is alimony a tax deduction?

No, although alimony payments used to be tax deductible, that is no longer the case. 

8. Is alimony considered income?

Alimony is no longer considered income to the receiving spouse. 

9. What is the difference between alimony vs. child support?

These two types of support couldn’t be more different. Alimony payments are for the spouse. Child support payments are for the child. 

10. When does alimony stop?

There are a number of reasons why alimony payments may stop coming. Here are a few:

  • The person paying alimony dies
  • The person receiving alimony dies
  • The condition requiring alimony passes (alimony was ordered for a term of years, etc.)
  • The person receiving alimony gets remarried (the remarriage of the payor spouse does not stop payments)
  • The person receiving alimony moves in with someone else and cohabitates for at least 90 days
  • One party files a motion to modify alimony and the Judge terminates alimony

Need help with getting or paying alimony in South Carolina?

Because there are so many factors that go into the determination of alimony and there are things that can be done to eliminate your chance of getting alimony, you need to seek the services of a family court attorney to help you.  Likewise, if you are at risk for having to pay alimony, there may be facts in your case that could eliminate your risk of having to pay alimony.  

No matter whether you are looking at paying or receiving alimony, an experienced family court attorney can advise you based on your individual case.  Contact Jennilee Pirtle by using this form or by calling 843-970-2929.

Questions? Speak With Jennilee.

Dial (843) 970-2929