The purpose of alimony is to provide an ex-spouse a substitute for the support which was incident to the former marital relationship. Generally, alimony should place the supported spouse, as nearly as is practical, in the same position he or she enjoyed during the marriage.
In determining an award of alimony, the court is required to consider and give weight in such proportion as it finds appropriate to each of the following factors: (1) duration of the marriage; (2) physical and emotional health of each spouse; (3) educational background of each spouse; (4) employment history and earning potential of each spouse; (5) standard of living established during the marriage; (6) current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses; (7) current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses; (8) marital and nonmarital properties of the parties; (9) custody of the children; (10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties; (11) tax consequences as a result of the form of support awarded; (12) existence and extent of any prior support obligations; and (13) such other factors the court considers relevant.
There are many forms of alimony such as temporary, periodic, lump sum, rehabilitative and reimbursement. The amount, duration and form of alimony will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.
South Carolina statutory law provides that no alimony may be awarded to a spouse who commits adultery before either: (1) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement, or (2) the 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.