How Does Alimony Work?

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Alimony is the statutory definitional term for what most people in South Carolina have now started calling spousal support. Whatever you call it, however, the meaning remains the same. Alimony is a payment tool that is intended to help balance financial discrepancies caused by divorce. If your impending divorce leaves you facing considerable financial challenges, you should not put off discussing the prospect of alimony with an experienced South Carolina family law attorney.

How It Works

One of the best ways to better understand how alimony works is to consider an example. If, for example, you stayed home with your children and kept the home fires burning while your spouse grew his or her lucrative career, this fact can leave you at a distinct financial disadvantage if your marriage ends in divorce. While your ex has a successful career to tend to his or her own financial needs, your contributions during your marriage likely leave you financially disadvantaged. The law recognizes this financial imbalance, and the tool it uses to rectify it is alimony. In the example above, you would likely receive alimony payments that are intended to help you move forward with the financial support you need post-divorce. 

Periodic Alimony

In South Carolina, the most common form of alimony is called periodic alimony, which is often referred to as normal alimony. Periodic alimony refers to recurring payments (generally monthly) that can continue permanently or until one of the following occurs:

  • The recipient of the alimony payments remarries.
  • The recipient of the alimony payments lives with a romantic partner long-term.
  • Either spouse dies. 
  • The terms of the original order are modified due to a substantial change in circumstances.  

Contributing Factors

The factors that play the most significant role in the determination of alimony include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age, health, and earning potential (including their level of education and employment history)
  • The standard of living achieved
  • Each spouse’s current and anticipated income and expenses
  • Each spouse’s separate property and share in the division of marital property
  • Whether there is a mitigating factor that makes it difficult for one spouse to work outside the home (such as caring for a child with significant special needs)
  • Whether wrongdoing played a role in the dissolution of the marriage 

An Experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney Is Standing by to Help 

Concerns related to alimony are important concerns that require careful legal attention. The knowledgeable family law attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, in Greenville have a wealth of impressive experience successfully guiding cases like yours toward optimal outcomes, and we’re here for you, too. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 864-523-7730 today. 

Alimony FAQ

Will my spouse’s wrongdoing play a role?

Yes, the court can take whatever factors it considers relevant into alimony determinations, and this includes marital wrongdoing, such as adultery. 

What if I am accused of adultery?

If your spouse can prove you committed adultery before your formal orders were signed, the court may deny you alimony. This accusation, however, cannot be based on a mere whim or supposition. 

Do I need an attorney?

While you are not required to have an attorney, it is in your best interest to do so.

Why Choose Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey Law Firm?

With the experience to address complex family law, criminal defense, and real estate matters, our knowledgeable team of attorneys are here to advocate for you. We operate our law offices on three main principles:


We strive to establish personal trust with each and every client.


We operate with the utmost integrity when dealing with clients and the legal community.


We commit to excellence in all aspects of the legal profession.
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