What types of alimony are there?

In South Carolina, there are four types of alimony: permanent periodic, rehabilitative, lump sum, and reimbursement alimony.  All types of alimony contemplated by statute are modifiable and terminable. The family court may impose whatever “terms and conditions” on an alimony award “as the court may consider just, as appropriate under the circumstances.” S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-170 (Supp. 2007).

The most commonly awarded of the four is permanent periodic alimony.  Generally, someone will pay permanent alimony until he/she dies, there is a substantial change of circumstances, or the supported spouse remarries or lives continuously with someone as though they are married. Permanent alimony is usually paid on a monthly basis.

Rehabilitative alimony is ordered to encourage a dependent spouse to become self-supporting after divorce.  It is also designed to help a former spouse to develop his own life free from obligations to the dependent spouse.  It is only awarded in special circumstances.

Lump-sum alimony is usually a set amount of money paid in one installment, or periodically over a period of time.  Lump-sum terminates only upon the death of the supported spouse.  It is not terminable or modifiable based upon remarriage or changed circumstances in the future.

Reimbursement alimony is usually a set amount of money which is paid in one installment or periodically.  It is not terminable or modifiable based upon changed circumstances in the future. Most attorneys are not aware of reimbursement alimony.  If asked about the types of alimony, usually only the best domestic attorneys will mention reimbursement alimony.

All types of alimony contemplated by statute are modifiable and terminable. S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130 (Supp. 2007) Furthermore, the family court may impose whatever “terms and conditions” on an alimony award “as the court may consider just, as appropriate under the circumstances.” S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-170 (Supp. 2007).

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law
rdburney@turnerandburney.com
(864) 228-1616
www.turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com

WHEN DOES ALIMONY STOP?

Will I have to pay alimony forever?

Some people are ordered to pay alimony or spousal support.  They often ask, “When will my alimony stop?”  If either the person paying or receiving alimony dies, alimony stops.  If the person receiving alimony remarries, alimony will stop under most circumstances.  Alimony can also stop if the person who pays can show a substantial change of circumstances has occurred, such as becoming disabled, unemployed, or retires.  Also, if the supported spouse resides with another person in a romantic relationship for a period of ninety or more consecutive days, alimony may stop. The court may determine that a continued cohabitation exists if there is evidence that the supported spouse 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. S.C. Code § 20-3-150.  Everyone’s situation is different.  If you are receiving or paying alimony and want to know if your alimony will stop, give me a call.  864-228-1616 or 864-984-6565

Rhett Burney
Attorney at Law
rdburney@turnerandburney.com
(864) 228-1616
www.turnerandburney.com
www.rhettburney.com

Family Court Mediation in South Carolina

What is mediation and why is it important? Mediation is required in family court in South Carolina. Attorney Rhett Burney describes to us what mediation is like in and why it’s a good alternative to a lengthy divorce or custody legal battle. Rhett has been a certified family court mediator for over 10 years and has mediated hundreds of cases for not only his clients but also for other attorney’s clients. Watch this video as Rhett talks about family court mediation in South Carolina.

Click HERE for Video!

When Someone Files Bankruptcy During a Divorce

Sometimes during a divorce or custody case, a party may file for divorce.  When this happens it is always wise to get a bankruptcy attorney involved as bankruptcy is a specialized area of the law.  More likely than not you will probably need the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney to help get the case resolved.  Generally, bankruptcy will delay a divorce case from being completed.  However, in some instances the case can continue provided one of the parties asks the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay that is put in place whenever bankruptcy is filed.  Nevertheless, bankruptcy will not stop someone’s child support or alimony obligation.  If you are involved in a divorce or custody case, and the other side files for bankruptcy, contact me as soon as possible, so I can advise you on the next steps to take in order to bring a resolution to your case.

-Rhett D. Burney

STRATEGIES AND TIPS FOR DIVORCE AND CUSTODY CASES

  1. Always tell the truth.
  2. Keep your attorney and Guardian ad Litem informed of your current information, such as telephone number, email address, mailing address, and residence address.
  3. Do not move too often from one house to another. Prior to any move, contact your attorney to get his advice.
  4. Keep your attorney informed of any major life-changing event such as a job change, a move, an arrest, a death of a witness, a Department of Social Services investigation, a late payment of child support, or a violation of the court order.
  5. Do not make any posts on Facebook or any other social media website unless your attorney gives you permission to do so. It is best to close down your Facebook account during your case. I often use Facebook material when representing our clients. Anything put on Facebook can usually be used in court.
  6. Your telephone conversations and other conversations may be audio or video taped under certain circumstances, so be careful of the way you speak to someone and what you say to them.
  7. Email and text can also be reproduced. Be very careful of what you say in them. Do not let the heat of the moment influence what you write or text.
  8. A private investigator may be following you. Technology allows someone to watch you without being seen. If you are doing something that looks inappropriate to a stranger, it will look bad to the court, so be careful of what you do.
  9. Do not go on any dates or be alone with anyone of the opposite sex during your family court case. Remember you are married until you are divorced even though you may be separated from your spouse. Most judges hate adultery and if you are caught in a situation that may be considered adultery, the court may punish you in some way.
  10. Be involved in your child’s school and extracurricular activities. Attend Teacher/Parent conferences and go to lunch with your child. Unless the court order says otherwise, make sure you are going to all of your child’s extracurricular activities even if it is not your time to have your child.
  11. Make sure your child is not tardy or misses any school unless it is excused. Any missed days or classes can be used against you in the court. Judges often look at school records, grades, and absences/tardies in custody cases.
  12. Make a budget. If you are getting ready to separate from your spouse or to complete a divorce, you need a budget that includes what you believe your future income and expenses will be. Bills double and incomes are cut in half once the divorce is final. You need to be financially capable of supporting yourself, so plan accordingly.
  13. Be patient. A family court case is a marathon and not a sprint.
  14. Keep a diary or calendar of important events.  If your spouse is habitually late paying child support/alimony, is always bringing the children home late, is always getting the children to school late, keep a diary.  A diary accomplishes several things.  It will help refresh your memory, and it will help your attorney better prepare your case.

Rhett D. Burney, Esq.

www.turnerandburney.com

Are Unallocated Support Payments Taxable Or Non-Taxable To The Spouse Making The Payments?

Sometimes in divorce cases a court will order a spouse to make unallocated support payments to the other spouse.  These payments are similar to alimony payments, but they are a little different because an unallocated payment is usually used for not only supporting the spouse, but they can also be for child support or for the payment of other bills.  Alimony is generally taxable to the spouse receiving the payment of alimony and tax deductible for the spouse paying the alimony.  Likewise, unallocated support is taxable to the supported spouse and deductible by the supporting spouse unless the court issues an order stating otherwise.  For a more in depth look at this issue read the case of Brown v. Brown, 375 S.C. 48, 650 S.E.2d 84 (2007). Rhett D. Burney, Attorney and Family Court Mediator http://www.rdburney@turnerandburney.com