When Does Alimony End?
There are a number of types of alimony in South Carolina: permanent and periodic alimony, lump-sum alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and reimbursement alimony.
The topic I am writing about today primarily focuses on permanent and periodic alimony, but may also apply to other types of alimony.
What is permanent and periodic alimony? The most common type of alimony I see ordered is permanent and periodic alimony. Permanent and periodic alimony is alimony that is paid periodically, typically monthly, to a spouse until the spouse receiving alimony remarries or cohabitates with a person he or she is in a romantic relationship with.
When does it end?
Permanent and periodic alimony ends when the spouse receiving alimony remarries; this is the easy situation. The more difficult situation is cohabitation. If a spouse receiving alimony resides with another person in a romantic relationship for a period of ninety or more consecutive days, alimony terminates. But, the Court may determine that continued cohabitation exists if there is evidence that the spouse receiving alimony resides with another person in a romantic relationship for periods of less than ninety days and the two periodically separate in order to circumvent the ninety-day requirement.
So, if a spouse receiving alimony does not want his or her alimony to end, but wants to cohabitate with a new lover, he or she may try to skirt the ninety day rule by temporarily discontinuing the cohabitation.
If you suspect that your former spouse is trying to circumvent the ninety-day rule by temporarily separating from their new lover, you need evidence. These are very fact specific cases; you will need the help of a good private investigator to gather evidence.
Change of circumstance
If you have been ordered to pay permanent and periodic alimony, you may also be able decrease or terminate your obligation if a change of circumstance has occurred that reduces your financial ability to pay alimony in whole or at the same rate it was originally ordered. Again, these are very fact specific cases.
On the flipside of the coin, if you are receiving alimony you may be able to increase the amount of alimony that you receive if there has been a change of circumstance.
A specific event that is mentioned in the alimony statues that may constitute a change of circumstance is retirement. Retirement by the supporting spouse is sufficient grounds to warrant a hearing to evaluate whether there has been a change of circumstances for alimony.
If you have questions about alimony, contact John
Divorce and Family Law