Welcome to South Carolina Alimony Reform

Alimony Hardship Stories

This is a financial hardship not just to me but my entire family , brothers , parents , nephews and nieces . My ex wife is a LPN been working for the same doctor office three Drs, three PA's etc . She has claim in court her income is only $17 K after taxes ! Our tax records all the way up to the tax year 2010 was over $37 K, now she gets $2700 a month from me . One child under 12 $903 a month rest alimony . It takes my entire VA Comp check $2073 a month plus $750 of my workers comp check which leaves me 2200 a month to live off of.

We are so happy to join this fight for alimony reform. My husband 's ex was awarded permanent alimony in 1993. The children were adults, she had a job and retirement. She has bought a house, new car, dresses well and appears to live a prosperous life. We have two boys of which one is in college, and the other will be in one year. My husband cannot retire because of the alimony burden on our income. She has been receiving alimony for TWENTY years for a total of $170k! The ex has already retired and is also drawing on my husband's social security AND retirement as well as weekly alimony. Permanent alimony is causing a hardship in our life while she lives like a queen. The length of our marriage will soon exceed the length of my husband's first. She will never remarry. We will do whatever we can to help this fight for reform!

~ J. North Augusta, SC

My first wife and I were separated in 1982. The divorce was final in March 1985. Prior to the divorce and afterward, I provided financial support for my wife and for my minor children. The amount of alimony/support was established and has been paid since 1982*. I paid for both of my children to complete college. I felt like the alimony was the right thing for me to do in the early years. Our divorce was based on one year separation. There was no fault on either party. I had an obligation which I fulfilled without exception. I paid $3,250 a month for alimony. In January, 2010, my ex-wife took me court because my payments were not time. The conditions of the divorce called for her payment by the tenth of each month. I had previously explained many times that as an insurance agent, my pay is based on commissions which did not always coincide with the 10th of the month payment date. I had also requested that we offset the amount of alimony by the social security payment that she was receiving monthly. She would not agree and retained an attorney. I want to be very clear that from the early 80's continuing to date that I NEVER MISSED A MONTH MAKING THE PAYMENT. THAT IS OVER 30 YEARS. In the last five years, she lost both parents and a close female friend. I never requested a reduction during this time. To go back, shortly after our divorce, she opened an embroidery business and has been successful. After the death of her parents and with her business, she inherited her parent's assets which are substantial. I felt like there had been a significant change of conditions with her ability to support herself. She considered the alimony as a lifelong entitlement, and therefore took me to court. The judge in family court found that I was at fault with the timeliness of my payments and directed that I begin to pay through the Charleston Family court which I have since January 2010* to-date. That amount is $3,412.50. It appeared that the fact that my ex-wife had never failed to receive a monthly check and 95%+ were by the 10th of the month due date did not matter to this visiting judge. I left that courtroom made to feel like a deadbeat spouse which I considered very unjust. I will be 71 in May. I have several herniated disks in my back and in the last three years, have limited myself from most physical activities. I must still drive to and from work and to church, but no more driving than that. I have been married to my present wife for 15 years. I am well past the age when many retire, but this is not possible for me as long as I am saddled with the alimony. Going bad to court to argue this issue is always a gamble, and I have an ex-wife who appears to view alimony as a lifetime entitlement regardless of her financial situation. I fully support legislative action which would do away with lifetime alimony payments. I would like to be able to retire and not have this financial burden, but I cannot.

~ L. North Charleston, SC

I have remarried and my wife is also a physician. She gets up at 5:45 every morning, gets the kids to school, works all day and comes home at night to love and nurture. Her work pays for my ex not to work and it is even more infuriating for her. My wife went through a divorce in Kansas 8 years ago. She did not receive any alimony or child support. She just studied hard and went to work. The system that exists in South Carolina offends her on a deep level as a working mother.
I do understand the purpose of term set alimony and property division. I understand being provided for in the form of alimony because you have been out of the work force and need some time to re-educate yourself or change career paths. But you can become an orthopedic surgeon in 10 years. You can be a partner in a prestigious law firm in 10 years. You can start from scratch and become almost anything in 10 years if you just decide and work. I do not understand any system that provides alimony for longer than 10 years. By then, even the laziest of adults should be able to find their way in the world and if they don't it is their own problem not their ex-spouses' problem. The alimony system is ethically and morally wrong for those who pay and does a long term disservice in the form of dependence to those it intends to help. It needs to curbed.

Lastly, it does not make sense for the state to operate this way financially. Essentially I am paying a significant portion of my income to my ex-wife. This alimony serves as her sole income. It is taxed as income but at a lower rate then if it was being taxed from my income. In addition, the state loses her potential income tax revenue. Because she will never work the state will collect a lower total tax revenue. In other words, if I make 10 dollars and give her 4 and that 4 prevents her from seeking employment then the state collects tax revenue on 10 dollars. But if I keep my 10 dollars and she is then forced to get a job and make 4 dollars then the state collects tax revenue on 14 dollars. Its just common sense. Encouraging citizens to be unproductive, rewarding laziness will always backfire on the system.

~ D. Greenville

I am paying my x 1/3 of my disability check not a retirement check, but a disability. The thing is that I have to work and make the money just to pay her; or I go to jail if I dont. I am remarried to a supported lady, that I'm proud to call my wife. If she wasn't involved I would be homeless; but the fact is that I'm not receiving a retirement pension. This is called robbing the cradle, the court systems are making people that are receiving disability checks pay even though it's their only source of income. The courts don't care.... they just want that person to pay, no matter where the money comes from. Is this fear? NO it's not and it puts a damper on life not only for you but your new partner as well. This is my story.... it stinks, but hopefully we get to stop forever.

Many thanks! Find more people that is like us and share your thoughts. We are here to help everyone that is paying alimony to their x-spouses.

My husband was a returning combat veteran from Afghanistan. When he returned he suffered from physical injuries and PTSD ( which he didn't know at the time. ) His wife would not allow him to return to his home when he was released from the hospital after a surgery resulting from combat injuries. She filed for divorce and he didn't get an attorney or defend himself since he was severely depressed after returning home to find he had no home and no wife ( they had been married 26 years). He was not being treated for his PTSD either. Even though this was on record a judge allowed the hearing to proceed without appointing anyone to check my husband's competency.

He was ordered to pay alimony for life which he didn't even realize at the time. His wife said she would ask for it for 10 years and that was what he agreed to. Even though he has only a GED and she has a nursing degree and she had always worked outside the home she was awarded alimony for life. He also was given all debt and got no part of the home or its contents. He has been trying to have the alimony overturned since he has now received helped for his PTSD and realized how he was taken advantage of. So far he has been told that SC has no protection for mentally incompetent citizens UNLESS they are institutionalized. It is a disgrace that our family courts allow our veterans to taken advantage of after all they sacrifice.

Last August my husband was injured at work. After months of physical therapy and finally surgery he petitioned the courts to reduce his alimony since his income has been reduced and he gets workers comp which is only a portion of his usual income. The judge ordered that he continue to pay the full amount as well and make weekly payments to catch up the months he was unable to give her the full amount. He was also ordered to pay her attorney since he brought her to court. The judge said that he doesn't have taxes taken out of workers comp so he income should be about the same. But she didn't do the math. Before his injury my husband always worked overtime and workers' comp has a cap on the amount a person can collect regardless if their previous income.

So in the eyes of our courts it is fair for a disabled vet who has a GED , a broken back and facing more surgery, who will likely never return to his former profession to pay half his income to an able-bodied woman with a nursing degree for the rest of her life because he was married to her at one time. (In addition to this she has had a male companion for the past few years who provides her with financial support, extravagant gifts and trips, and stays at her home, yet they circumvent the courts by not cohabiting for 45 consecutive days and the burden of proof falls to my husband and he is in no position to hire a P.I. because so much of his income goes to alimony.

~ L. Boiling Springs, SC

My husband was ordered by the South Carolina Court System to pay his ex-wife alimony. He is ordered to pay $400.00 a WEEK PERMENENT Alimony. His ex-wife had a stroke around 20 years ago and when they went to court she had someone on either side of her helping as though she was unable to take care of herself. She lives on her own and has a valid drivers license and comes and goes as she pleases, she is on disability, we just know that she played on the sympathy of the court to get as much help as she possibly could. My husband has suffered a heart attack and had to have quadruple bypass surgery. He has also suffered extreme pain in his right shoulder and after multiple doctor visits, been told by the surgeon that he needs to have his rotary cuff repaired. We are completely unable to have this surgery done. Even with his short term and long term disability, we would not be able to pay the alimony along with our house hold bills. I work as a substitute teacher. We have a son, so I work the same schedule as his so that we don't have to pay for any type of daycare. My job does not offer any type of benefits. My husband has insurance through his employer, and for him to add me and our son, we would have to pay an extra $270.00 plus per week. There is absolutely no way that we can afford this when we have to give her $400.00 EVERY WEEK! Therefore me and our son have no medical insurance of any type. Naturally our son is not eligible for any type of government assistance due to the fact that we make "too much money". That would be great if we actually were able to keep our money. My husband drives a truck for a living. He makes $0.45 a mile which is fine if he can get the miles. There are weeks when he does good, but there are weeks like this past week when he brings home $562.48. Let me help you with the math. That left us with $162.48. Not a lot when you consider we live week to week. Not because we choose to, but because we have NO CHOICE. Have you ever had a bill that you will NEVER pay off? That's what we are facing. There is no last payment. I am all for her having her"share" but come on. There are people in worse shape than we are, and I am thankful for all that we do have. We do not ever have the "extra money" so that we can do things such as a weekend trip or a little get away. Family vacations are completely out of the question. We spend all our time at home. We don't go to movies or bowling or even out to eat. We have to budget every penny just to stay above water. My husband averages being home 1 day a week. He is in pain daily with his shoulder and no hope of ever ending it. There has to come a point in time when SOMEONE realizes this is completely unacceptable. My husband should not have to pay his ex-wife for the rest of his life because their marriage failed. The thing that bothers me the most is that their are parents out there that are ordered to pay child support that don't pay $400.00 a MONTH much less per WEEK. Any help or HOPE that you can offer is greatly appreciated.

My wife seem to be in a constant state of anger which, was mostly directed at me. She demand things we could not afford and when she did not get what she wanted she destroyed my belongings. She refused to get a job to help with bills, wash my clothes, clean rooms in the house that she called my rooms, cook or allow me to cook. In addition I was living a life of celibacy without an explanation of why.

Knowing that if I divorced her the SC Family Court would take custody of my child, my home and virtually everything had from me, I was stuck in this abusive marriage. I found myself walking on egg shells in anticipation of the day when she would sue me for a "no-fault" divorce.

On the advice of a marriage counselor, I went to see a divorce lawyer to prepare myself for what was inevitable. Unfortunately, the lawyer I saw only worked in Georgia. According to him alimony was only for the rich and I would not need to worry about it.

As you can imagine, when my wife finally did file for divorce, I was completely blindsided to learn that not only would I be paying alimony but, that I could be forced to pay it for the rest of my life. Coupled with permanent child support for a disable child this meant that I would never again be able to support myself.

Because, of this, and at the advice of my lawyer, I settled out of court in order to avoid paying Permanent Alimony. I gave her all the marital assets plus the non-marital asset of my house. In addition, I will be paying alimony for nine years and making one half of the remaining payments on the home.

What little non-marital assets I kept are far out weighted by the credit card debt I retained for things that now belong to her.

Today I am suffer from depression and stress related medical issues due to the issues of my marriage, my divorce and the financial strain. Knowing that losing my job or being unable to pay alimony for any reason could land me in jail does not do me any good either.

Worse of all is the fact that my wife refuses try to earn a living for herself and will continue live in poverty before doing so. By forcing me to pay Alimony the Court is forcing me to facilitate the harm she is doing to herself and to our child.

I can think of many things that are unjust and unfair about divorce and especially "No-fault Divorce" in South Carolina but, putting an end to "Permanent Alimony" would be a great step in the right direction.

K. Augusta Ga.

The current alimony laws cause me hardship for the following reasons:

1) It causes dependency on the part of the receiver. My ex-wife is a skilled dental hygienist and years before we separated I asked her to work full time to help with our retirement savings. She was not interested in doing so. She could make a good salary if she would work full time but because of the amount of alimony I am paying she has no incentive to find a full time job and so she doesn't. There haven't been dependent children in the house for many years so she is not a caregiver. Her finding a full time job and allowing me to lower my alimony payment a bit would help us both greatly. The current alimony laws encourage her to sit around the house.

2) Current alimony law prevents me from ever getting married in the future as it is unclear if my new wife's income and assets could be taken into consideration as a change in my circumstances. Thus, not allowing me to get on with my life.

3) Under the current law of never ending alimony , when I retire in a few years my entire monthly social security check plus additional funds from my own retirement savings will have to be used to pay my ex-wife's alimony. Even though we split our assets and savings evenly at the time of divorce, I don't think it is fair that her alimony should come from my retirement savings and not hers. In this case over time, she will still have a lot of retirement savings and I will be broke.

4) Lastly, because of the above scenarios, it makes no sense for me to work hard, invest or save for retirement as anything that increases my assets over my base would be used to determine future alimony payments when I retire. I think the goal of any change in the alimony law should be to create an atmosphere where receivers of alimony are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own lives, work and manage their own money for their future. I think rehabilitative alimony for a set number of years would be a good idea.

~ M. Hendersonville

After 3 years in and out of court, I was ordered to pay my ex-wife $800.00 a month until she dies or gets remarried. To give you a little background, I was married to my wife not quite 10 years before I left. Prior to that, we slept in separate bedrooms for 3 years. When I met my ex-wife, we were both working and making decent money. As soon as I bought a home, she quit her job. I made every payment on the home we bought. I certainly wasnt leaving MY home, and neither was she. During our marriage, she was not only mentally abusive, she was violent towards her children and me. I tried everything I could to make the marriage work. I thought it would be best if we went to marriage counseling. She went one time and got up and walked out mid-session. She later accused me of having an affair with the marriage counselor. When I met my ex-wife, I had perfect credit, until I co-signed for her to purchase a car. She quit her job, cashed out her 401k, got a breast augmentation and tummy tuck. She didn't pay her car payment and it was subsequently repossessed. Life with my ex was hell. She is severely psychotic with tons of baggage from her childhood and past relationships (I was her 3rd husband). I did, ultimately, have a relationship outside of my marriage, who is now my wife. Adultery is what they based the divorce on, however I had left the home prior to said affair. While I did have an attorney, I do not believe I was represented well. My ex-wife had a bulldog of an attorney, (name deleted). There's is tons more info, I just wanted to share the gist of my predicament. Please let me know how I can be of help to reform these antiquated laws. I am 54 years old and cannot see retiring anytime in my future.

Alimony payments are causing my kids to do without. I cant afford to buy them clothes and other things they desperately need. My wifes grandparents buy us clothes for the kids and many times have to buy groceries so the kids can eat. It is very hard to go to work every day and not be able to feed and provide for your family because of paying a woman alimony because they choose to take advantage of a ridiculous law. I could understand alimony for a short time but for life is absolutely insane. It also puts a heavy strain on our marriage because my family look to me to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. I think this law should be changed because a lot of kids in america are doing without because of daddies having to try to take care of a ex wife. My ex wife also puts comments all over facebook about me paying her alimony. I have no support or legal protection at all. She was going to send me to jail over 25$. This needs to stop because there are more people involved in alimony besides the man paying it. I hate looking our kids in the eye and telling them we have no money to buy groceries and other things they need. Please let me know of anything i can do to help in the stopping of this terrible law. Thanks for all that you do.

~ J. Greenwood, SC

While on active duty with the US Army in support of OEF, stationed at Ft Stewart, GA. My wife of almost 27 years of marriage, four daughters, two son in laws two grand kids served me for a divorce! After my return from combat in 2008 from OEF my wife admitted she was not faithful to me for the past 18 months while I was gone. Anyway three years forward the family courts here in Spartanburg 7th circuit awarded my ex wife all my VA compensation check, and to this day I have to pay her $2700 a month $796 for my youngest child and the rest for her and her live in boyfriend. August of last year I broke my back at work which has been a serve burden on myself wife (second) and kids for now I'm on Workers Comp which after taxes from my job of ten years is lesser by $400 a week. Went back to family court to ask for a alimony reduction only to come out if court $400 a month poorer went from $2299 and month to $2700 a month.

~ M. Boiling Springs, SC

 

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