Divorce changes many things, including a couple’s financial arrangements. For instance, one spouse may have been the family’s breadwinner while the other played the role of homemaker. It explains the necessity of spousal support, also known as alimony.
While many understand the purpose of these court-ordered payments, few are familiar with their intricacies. First, spousal support is not determined by gender. Either spouse, regardless of gender, may be entitled to alimony if they are substantially dependent on the other or need financial support to maintain a lifestyle similar to what they were accustomed to before the divorce. That being said, a court may not award spousal support to a spouse who engaged in sexually illicit behavior during the marriage, such as adultery.
How is spousal support calculated, and how long will it last?
Without a valid legal agreement like a prenup and it’s up to the court to decide, several factors will determine the amount and duration of alimony. They include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age, physical condition, and emotional state of each spouse
- The educational background and earning potential of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The current and expected expenses of each spouse
- The marital misconduct of either spouse
- The ability of a spouse to pay considering their relative earnings
Unless the court orders otherwise, spousal support ends when either spouse dies or the dependent spouse remarries.
Spousal support orders are enforceable and can be modified
Once the court orders spousal support, the paying spouse must adhere and pay without fail. Otherwise, the court may employ various enforcement measures to ensure that. It is also worth noting that the court can revise the amount upwards or downwards if substantial changes have occurred since the orders were issued.
There is much more to spousal support in South Carolina, and it helps to have the necessary counsel if you have any questions as the paying or receiving spouse. It will be much easier to take appropriate actions and make decisions that protect your financial interests when you have the proper information about how things work.