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Alimony Modification in South Carolina

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Alimony modification in South Carolina is based on a change in circumstances or a change in the financial ability of the paying spouse after the court’s most recent alimony order.

To understand more about alimony modification contact our alimony lawyer in Greenville today.

S.C. Code § 20-3-170 states the legal authority for modifying alimony. Either party may petition the court for a change.

Modifying Alimony Payments

Whether an alimony payment can be modified depends on the original alimony order and the reasons for the proposed change. Many alimony awards can be modified. Even if an order can be changed, the moving party must have legal grounds.

Whether or not a litigant will be successful in a request to modify alimony is highly dependent on the circumstances of the case. To increase the likelihood of success, the party must carefully present evidence and arguments to the court. The court must give the parties an opportunity to be heard before increasing or decreasing the alimony award.

Examples of Alimony Modification

Here are some situations where the court may modify alimony:

  • The payer loses their job, because of health or other reasons
  • A decline in the health of the recipient that impacts their income
  • The recipient receives an inheritance
  • Changes in the financial needs of either party
  • Remarriage or cohabitation
  • Retirement of the paying party
  • Winning the lottery

South Carolina courts want to see that the change in circumstances was unanticipated by the parties. For example, one court said that a spouse returning to work after the children were grown was something that the parties knew would happen when they agreed to the original amount. The court declined to modify alimony on that basis, also noting that the payer’s income and assets increased considerably since the original order. (Weller v. Weller, 434 S.C. 530 (Ct. App. 2021)).

Lawyer for Alimony Modification in South Carolina

The best way to know if your request is likely to succeed is to have a consultation with a lawyer for alimony modification in South Carolina. Requesting a change in a spousal support award is highly specific to the facts of the individual case. There is no other case exactly like yours.

J. Michael Turner, Jr. is a lawyer in Greenville, SC experienced in alimony cases that include modification requests. Whether you are a payer or recipient, he can evaluate your case, give you honest advice and advocate for you. Contact us today to talk about your situation.

How to Modify Alimony in South Carolina

To modify alimony in South Carolina, you must petition the court. The earliest the court will make any change effective is the date that you formally motion the court, even if the circumstances changed long before that.

You must prepare a court motion, serve the other party and attend the hearing. While you can negotiate with the other person, you should plan on presenting your case in court. Using evidence and arguments, you must prove to the court that it is just and equitable to modify alimony.

Alimony Modification FAQs

Is alimony modifiable in South Carolina?

Whether alimony can be modified in South Carolina depends on the type of alimony that was ordered and the reason for the proposed change. Many types of alimony are subject to modification upon a sufficient showing that the change is appropriate.

If my ex gets remarried, does alimony stop in SC?

In South Carolina, periodic alimony and separate maintenance automatically terminate when the receiving party remarries or continuously cohabitates with a romantic partner. Other types, like rehabilitative or reimbursement alimony, are terminable at the discretion of the judge. Lump sum alimony is usually not modifiable upon remarriage.

Does alimony stop when somebody dies?

Yes. Alimony ends at the death of the payer or recipient. It does not pass as a debt to the estate or as an entitlement to heirs.

Does alimony change if income changes?

Alimony may change if income changes. It depends on whether the income change was anticipated at the time of the original order. There may be other factors that are also relevant like the conduct of a party, such as adultery, that formed the basis for the original order.

What happens if I lose my job and I cannot pay alimony?

If you lose your job and you cannot pay alimony, you may ask the court to lessen or terminate your award. The reduction is not automatic. The award does not change until you motion the court and there is a new order. The court will consider all the relevant circumstances including whether the reduction in income is voluntary or involuntary.

Is retirement grounds to change alimony?

Retirement is grounds to change alimony. The court has the discretion to award the change. They may base their decision on the age of the parties, whether retirement will decrease the paying spouse’s income, whether retirement is voluntary or not, and whether it was contemplated at the time of the initial order.

Does adultery affect alimony modification in South Carolina?

Yes. The court may decline to modify an alimony award if it was originally based on adultery. However, that is just one factor that the court may consider. The purpose of alimony is not punishment or retribution. Rather, it is a duty to support the spouse and maintain the marital standard of living.

How can you stop paying alimony in South Carolina?

To stop paying alimony in South Carolina, you must file a court motion. The court must agree that justice and equity require a change in the alimony award. The type of alimony awarded must be subject to modification.

Legal Representation for Alimony Modification

What we hope you will understand about alimony modification in South Carolina is that certain types of alimony can be modified. However, whether it will be modified depends heavily on the specifics of the case. If you pursue an alimony modification, you must be prepared with evidence to support your request.

Lawyer Michael Turner will give you honest advice and discuss your options. We invite you to schedule a consultation to talk about your case. Should you choose to allow us to represent you, we will advocate for your interests and fully pursue your legal rights.

Consultations Available – Start Your Case Today

If you are considering alimony modification in South Carolina, or if you are ready to start your case, contact Turner Family Law to begin.

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Initial Consultation

First, we will conduct an initial consultation and we will go over all the facts and details of your case.

Filing and Negotiations

We submit a Complaint to the Court, or help you respond to one. Hearings and negotiations take place.

Final Order

Following mediation, all unsettled parts of your case will be determined by the trial judge who issues final rulings.

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