Appellate Court Affirms Reduction of Alimony But Rejects Second-Guessing Family Court's Denial of Termination of Spousal Support

South Carolina Husband and Wife divorce. The family court awards Wife permanent alimony and spousal support. The family court also awards Wife a portion of Husband's pension toward her share of equitable distribution and property division. Some time after the divorce, Husband presses a modification action to terminate alimony or, at the least, reduce alimony. Husband contends that there has been a substantial change in circumstances in that Husband (and Wife) are now receiving payouts from Husband's pension. Husband argues that Wife's alimony should be reduced dollar for dollar by the amount of the pension that she is now receiving. The family court now rules that there is a substantial change of circumstances. And reduces, but does not terminate, the amount of alimony payable to Wife. The family court also awards Wife her attorney's fees in this modification proceeding. Husband appeals the family court's ruling on his modification case. The appellate court holds that the alimony rulings made by the family court are within the family court's exercise of discretion and affirms the family court's rulings. The appellate court also holds that the original property division award of the pension cannot be factored in to any modification, because the family court originally took it into account when it fashioned the original property division and alimony awards. Lastly, the appellate court upholds the award of attorney's fees to Wife. Read more in this [Orangeburg SC] Times and Democrat article: Court upholds divorce order.

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