What Is the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support?

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Many people consider the term alimony outdated so they have replaced it with the term spousal support. However, most people still use the term alimony when its comes to the payment mechanism that is intended to help balance divorce-related financial imbalances.

Whether you call it alimony or spousal support, the meaning remains the same. If you have a spousal support concern, it’s time to consult with an experienced South Carolina family law attorney. 

Spousal Support 

Very generally, alimony or spousal support is an ongoing payment made by the spouse with the financial means to do so to the spouse who experiences a financial setback upon divorce to offset the adverse financial consequences. Spousal support typically comes in the form of a monthly payment. These payments can either be ongoing or set up for any amount of time intended to help the recipient become more financially independent (via education, job training, and/or the acquisition of skills).

Determining Alimony

The determination of whether or not alimony is appropriate – and if so, its duration and amount – is a complicated process that involves wide-ranging factors, such as the following: 

  • How long your marriage lasted
  • The age and mental and physical health of both of you
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s separate assets and properties 
  • The level of education each of you have and the training and/or education each of you would need to improve your earning potential
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s employment histories and incomes
  • The standard of living you enjoyed as a married couple
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s personal expenses (and how these are expected to change upon divorce)
  • Your custody arrangements and how they affect either parent’s ability to earn 
  • Whether or not wrongdoing played a role in your divorce and/or affected your current financials

Consult with an Experienced South Carolina Family Law Attorney Today 

Suppose you are facing a legal concern that involves spousal support. In that case, the practiced family law attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, in Greenville, recognize how important the matter is to your financial future and are well prepared and well-positioned to help. To learn more about what we can do for you, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 864-523-6928 today. 

Alimony FAQ

What factors make permanent alimony more likely?

The longer your marriage, the more likely you will receive permanent alimony, which is called periodic alimony in South Carolina. Periodic alimony is the most common form of alimony ordered in the state. It is important to note that the most common way to bar yourself from alimony in SC is to commit adultery. This is different than most other states and only requires that a party have the inclination and opportunity to have sex – it is not necessary to prove the party committed adultery.

Will I pay income tax on my alimony payments?

Since 2019, recipients of alimony have not paid federal income tax on those payments. Conversely, those who pay alimony no longer get a tax break for doing so. 

How can I improve my chances of receiving alimony?

The surest way to help protect your right to alimony is by working closely with a dedicated family law attorney from the outset. 

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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