In South Carolina there is often confusion surrounding the terms alimony and separate support and maintenance. Some use the terms interchangeably, however there is a difference:
- Alimony refers to support payments made by one former spouse to another former spouse. Alimony is post-divorce.
- Separate support and maintenance refers to support payments made by one spouse to another spouse, for instance a support obligation required by way of a Decree of Separate Maintenance. This form of support is pre-divorce. Temporary support can be awarded to give a spouse sufficient means for support while a divorce action is pending.
There are generally three (3) forms of alimony:
- Periodic-alimony: alimony to be paid periodically. These payments are usually monthly, sometimes weekly, bi-weekly quarterly, etc. This obligation usually terminates upon the death of one of the former spouses, the remarriage of a former spouse receiving alimony, or the former spouse receiving alimony cohabitating (living like married people with another);
- Lump-sum alimony: a one time payment, or a fixed amount, that usually can not be changed;
- Rehabilitative alimony: periodic payments to terminate after a defined period of time, to allow one former spouse to “get back on their feet.”
South Carolina law has presented the Family Court with many factors (13 in all) for the Court to weigh in determining whether an alimony award is appropriate. In order to receive alimony you must convince the Court applying the facts of your case to the law that you are entitled to it.
If you have questions about alimony or family law, call the Spartanburg divorce lawyers at Holland & Usry toll free at 888-230-1841 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.