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Life time Spousal support and Fairness

by | Feb 24, 2017 | Firm News, Spousal Support

In South Caroline the legislature is going to engage the topic of lifetime Spousal support.  They want to discuss whether the party who must pay for the rest of their live to the other party support is justified.  It has been a long standing law in family law court that a marriage lasting a certain period of duration must allow one party that is not financial equal to the other party lifetime spousal support. In California if the marriage lasts more than 10 years one party is can receive lifetime spousal support.  The lifetime spousal support can only be awarded of course if one party is at a economic disadvantage in earning capacity.

In South Carolina the State Senate will hear arguments from some special interest groups and local attorneys who oppose the lifetime spousal support law. There were many changes that were anticipated in being heard in the South Carolina Senate.  There are several bills being offered to be discussed by the South Caroline Senate. First off to the Senate is that there is no de facto life time spousal support.  That means that any judge reviewing a long term marriage does not have the automatic authority to mandate life time spousal support.

In addition, the South Carolina Senate will consider if they have to consider the party who is paying support’s spouse’s income. This is important, because Judge’s usually address and take into account how the parties are living post separation.  Often a party will remarry or they will have another partner whom they live with.  The most important factor a Judge will look at is if the other party remarries.  That alone can be the sole reason not to award spousal support to a party in need.  However, often a judge will take into account the party who pays support and his or her living conditions.  If that person resides with person who makes substantial income the payor of spousal support can be imputed with his or her income in the Judges decision to award spousal support. South Caroline now wants to rid the Judge considering the payor spouse’s significant others income as well.

Morever, the South Carolina Senate will address whether they can can change permanent spousal support to two different types of spousal support each not involving long term or lifetime spousal support.

Fourthly, the Senate will consider whether mere “cohabitation” can be considered as if a person has remarried.  This criteria will significantly change how the receiving spouse now lives or goes forward with their personal affairs.  Before it was easy to just not get remarried and live with anther person without any concerns about the living standards.  But now the South Carolina Senate will consider is simply living together as cohabitants will be enough to place the tag as remarried on them.

Finally, the South Carolina Senate will consider if the Judges should consider a multitude of criteria to demonstrate the payors changed circumstances to warrant a lowering or terminating of life time spousal support.