07 Mar South Carolina Group Pushes for Abolishment of Permanent Alimony
At the end of a marriage, there are many aspects of the relationship which need to be determined. First, it is important to figure out what is marital property and what is individual property. Then it must be determined how the marital property will be distributed between the couple. If there are children, child support, custody, and visitation arrangements must be outlined in the divorce decree, and finally, considerations of alimony or spousal maintenance need to be decided.
What is the Current South Carolina Law on Alimony
Alimony in South Carolina is generally provided to the spouse whose life and finances are being more effectively altered. For example, if one of the spouses was the breadwinner and the other was the stay-at-home parent, the stay-at-home parent, because of the divorce, is in a financially weaker position because he or she gave up economic independence so as to take care of the domestic matters. The spouse who was the breadwinner is generally going to be less affected and will be in a better position. Alimony, or spousal maintenance, seeks to rectify the imbalance that was caused as a result of the couple deciding to work as a unit rather than as individuals who support only themselves.
An Anti-Permanent Alimony Group for Change
The South Carolina alimony reform movement has recently gotten a lot of traction because of their advertising methods; the group has paid more than $6,000 on ads and billboards trying to garner support and membership supporting his cause. The group, which was founded by Wyman Oxner, is pushing for South Carolina’s lawmakers to abolish permanent alimony. Oxner started the group because he was frustrated at having to pay spousal support for almost two decades, and believes that he should not have to pay for the rest of his life.
Factors Weighed to Determine Type of Alimony
Alimony in South Carolina is generally permanent (though judges have flexibility in their determination of the amount and the method of payment of alimony), meaning that one spouse must pay the other ex-spouse’s alimony unless the ex-spouse cohabits, remarries, or dies. The judge when determining the alimony award is able to take into consideration all weighty evidence such as:
The duration of the marriage;
The physical and emotional status of each spouse, for example, if one of the spouses has a medical condition or mental ailment and needs financial support;
The educational background and a disparity between the couple on salaries and economic situations;
The earning potential of each spouse. This is especially important for older spouses who may have a harder time getting back into the workforce;
The amount of marital assets apportioned to each spouse as a result of the divorce decree;
The custody arrangement of the children; and
Any marital misconduct which has affected the financial circumstances of the parties (for example, if one of the spouses is a habitual/addicted gambler and the divorce was a result due to financial hardship created by the gambler spouse).
Because judges have discretion in the type of alimony, there are plenty of alimony determinations where alimony may be modified or adjusted depending on changed circumstances such as financial security, increased educational training, and self-support.
Proposals Put Forward to Alter South Carolina Alimony Methods
The group, however, believes that permanent alimony provides very little incentive for the ex-spouse receiving support to modify their life choices and become self-sufficient, especially when they have this economic tie for the rest of their lives. Some of the changes that the group is advocating for include:
An economic cap, either through a percentage of the income that the alimony payer is paying;
A duration cap where the payments must end at half the length of the marriage (if it was a 10-year marriage, alimony would cap at 5 years); or
An end of alimony by retirement age.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area
Tax and alimony issues are extremely complex and difficult. It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney like the attorneys at Klok Family Law LLC for help with these matters. Contact Klok Family Law LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.