Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Charleston Alimony

Alimony can have a significant financial impact on your life – now and in the future.

If a Charleston divorce judge orders you to pay alimony, you could be financially burdened for the remainder of your life. Conversely, if you do not receive alimony as part of your Charleston divorce or legal separation, you may never again enjoy the lifestyle that you have had during your marriage. Since alimony can be the most financially significant issue in your Charleston divorce or legal separation, you should become well informed on the subject of SC alimony.

In this article, you will find general answers to many alimony questions. For more specific information regarding alimony in your particular divorce or legal separation case, you should consult with a knowledgeable Charleston divorce lawyer.

1. What Is Alimony?

Alimony is a payment that the spouse with the higher income makes directly or indirectly to the spouse with a lesser income as a substitute for the financial support to be lost in a divorce or legal separation. Your Charleston divorce judge can order alimony to be paid as part of a legal separation or divorce case. In many Charleston divorce cases, the purpose of alimony is to place the spouse, who receives the alimony payments, in a financial position that is similar to what he or she enjoyed during the marriage. Alimony is also called “maintenance” or “spousal support.”

2. What types of alimony can be ordered in a Charleston divorce or legal separation?

As I discuss in my article “The Six Types of Alimony in a Charleston Divorce,” you may be able to receive one of six types of alimony as part of your Charleston divorce or legal separation. You may be able to receive: (1) permanent periodic alimony; (2) rehabilitative alimony; (3) reimbursement alimony; (4) lump sum alimony; (5) separate maintenance and support alimony; or (6) other alimony as determined by your Charleston divorce judge.

Too often, a person in the midst of a divorce in Charleston will overlook how significant an award of alimony can be in terms of duration and the amount of money involved. Each of these alimony types has different characteristics. Consequently, you should discuss in detail with your Charleston, SC divorce and alimony attorney regarding what you may be paid or be ordered to pay as alimony.

3. Is alimony always awarded in a Charleston divorce or legal separation?

No. The South Carolina alimony law does not require alimony to be awarded in any situation. Instead, Charleston divorce judges review the evidence closely on a case-by-case basis to decide whether to award alimony. Your divorce judge will decide whether to award alimony in your divorce or legal separation case after considering the 12 factors that are listed in the South Carolina alimony law. If your Charleston judge does not believe alimony is appropriate, the request for alimony will be denied.

The SC alimony statute does not include a “bright line” definition of the circumstances under which alimony should be awarded. Consequently, you will need to work closely with a divorce attorney in Charleston to obtain the best possible outcome. As I explain in my article “How to Calculate Alimony in a Charleston Divorce,” the skill of your Charleston divorce lawyer could determine whether alimony is awarded and – if alimony is awarded – how much and for how long.

4. What events can cause SC alimony to end?

You may stop paying or receiving – as the case may be – alimony upon any of the following conditions occurring:

  • The person, who is paying alimony, dies.
  • The person, who is receiving alimony, dies.
  • The time or condition for payment of alimony comes to an end. For example, your Charleston divorce judge may order that rehabilitative alimony shall only be paid for five years.
  • The spouse receiving alimony remarries.
  • The spouse receiving alimony cohabitates with a person of the opposite sex for more than 90 consecutive days.
  • Your Charleston divorce court judge enters an order to terminate alimony in response to a motion to modify alimony.


As an experienced divorce and alimony attorney in Charleston, SC,I can answer your Charleston divorce and legal separation questions.To speak directly with me, please call me now at 843-800-2928.

Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your Charleston divorce or legal separation case. I will be quick to respond.  You can be sure that I will keep strictly confidential anything that you write to me.

Working together, we will protect your rights and build a better future for you in Awendaw, Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, or West Ashley.

Recommendations for Additional Reading

Alimony in Charleston, SC Divorce

How To Calculate Alimony In a Charleston Divorce

How Long Does Alimony Last For A Charleston Divorce?

What Are The Differences Between Alimony And Child Support In A Charleston Divorce?

What Is The South Carolina Alimony Law?