There is no formula to predict South Carolina alimony obligations

There’s a chart circulating amongst South Carolina family law attorneys that lists most of the published alimony opinions and has columns for the amount of alimony ordered, length of marriage, the spouses’ respective incomes and expenses, grounds for divorce, and other factors described in the alimony statute. My understanding is that family law attorneys look to this chart in an attempt to divine how a family court judge might set alimony in their individual cases. Their Holy Grail is to develop a mathematical formula that predicts alimony–much as we have the child support guidelines to determine child support. It’s a fools quest. If there’s a method for gaining insight into alimony awards by reviewing this chart–outside of simply noting that obvious factors like length of marriage, the parties’ incomes and reasonable expense, and fault are correlated with alimony awards–I’ve yet to discover it. Given the myriad alimony…

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