In South Carolina, the alimony laws are undergoing some serious changes. In an alimony decision, usually the more financially secure spouse pays the less financially secure spouse a weekly or monthly stipend. The basis of payment is usually dependent upon the length of the marriage, education of the spouse and the assets involved. Until recently, alimony could end up being a lifelong payment.
South Carolina is one of eight states that are working through an Alimony Reform Group to change the law, allowing for a more limited or fixed type of alimony. It would be up to the judge to determine which spouse should receive alimony and for what length of time.
To learn more about this, speak to an experienced Fort Mill alimony lawyer.
Why Isn’t Your Ex Paying and What Can You Do?
But what if your rightful alimony is consistently late or doesn’t come at all – what recourse do you have? Your ex-spouse might have several reasons for failing to pay alimony. Was there an income reduction, job loss, a prolonged illness, or another valid reason?
If you haven’t yet approached your ex, you might want to find out the reason for the nonpayment. Sometimes a one-on-one meeting, without the use of the court or an attorney, can lead to a resolution. If you believe your spouse is unable to make alimony payments temporarily, it’s up to the two of you to try to reach an agreement and then notify the court of the situation.
Let your ex-spouse know you’re quite willing to go back to court if the agreement is not met after he or she returns to work. However, if there’s no easy way for the two of you to resolve the situation on your own, you will need to consult a divorce attorney to find out what your rights are and what recourse you can take.
Take It to Court
The court has ways to handle situations where the ex-spouse isn’t meeting his or her end of the agreement regarding alimony. In truth, the ex-spouse is violating a court-ordered agreement. Judges don’t look kindly on people who disregard an agreement made in court. The judge may order confiscation of personal assets and apply them to the alimony until the alimony balance has been met.
A judgment can result from failure to pay. A judge could hold your ex in contempt of court, which could lead to a fine on top of the alimony payment. If the ex-spouse continues to withhold payment, he or she could go to jail.
Your ex-spouse might encounter an income-withholding order, which would require that his or her paycheck go directly to the court and alimony deducted before he or she receives the rest of the paycheck. This also happens in child-support cases – a garnishment of wages. The income-withholding order guarantees your alimony payments as long as your ex has employment.
Seek Writ of Execution
Another way to deal with late payments is through a writ of execution, where the court awards you a portion of your ex-spouse’s assets and bank accounts. A lot of people aren’t aware that they’re entitled to interest if alimony payments fall behind.
The state of South Carolina has many types of alimony, and your settlement will almost always be dependent upon the circumstances of your divorce. These types may include:
- Rehabilitative alimony, where one spouse agrees to pay for another spouse’s education, so that spouse can earn a living after the divorce.
- Reimbursement alimony, where payments would serve to repay the spouse for contributions made early in the marriage by the other spouse.
- Lump sum alimony, where both parties agree to an amount. Once the parties agree on the amount, they cannot change it down the road.
It’s up to your Fort Mill family law attorney to look into the facts of your case and work with you to decide the best course of action for you and your spouse if you can’t reach an agreement on your own.