Men Do Get Alimony in SC: The Ricigliano Decision

Men Do Get Alimony in SC: The Ricigliano Decision

By M. J. Goodwin


Aside from child custody issues, I would say that Family Court litigants get more upset about alimony than any other issue. The person paying alimony perceives it as punishment for being a good provider during the marriage. The person receiving alimony perceives it as an absolute necessity for survival. For most of my career, the vast majority of those paying alimony were the husbands.

However, as times are changing and more women are getting college educations and advanced degrees, with corresponding increases in careers and income, more women are in the position of being required to pay alimony in the event of a divorce. This is particularly true in cases involving marital fault on the part of the wife (typically adultery).

On July 15, 2015, the SC Court of Appeals published its first opinion awarding permanent periodic alimony to a husband. The case is Ricigliano v. Ricigliano.   This is a significant case.   It may give husbands, and Family Court lawyers, more of an edge when pursuing alimony.

Whether the husband or the wife seeks alimony, the factors considered by the Family Court are the same and are enumerated by statute:

(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties;

(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;

(3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse’s income potential;

(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;

(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;

(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;

(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;

(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action;

(9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature;

(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties;

(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;

(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and

(13) such other factors the court considers relevant.

If you are facing the possibility of paying or needing alimony, or have any other Family Court issue, please email me at Email inquiries are typically answered within 12 hours.




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