Sunday, March 12, 2006
A measure that would permit judges to award alimony if adultery occurs at least one year after legal separation and does not contribute to the breakup of the marriage passed the South Carolina Senate on Friday and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for consideration. Under current law, adultery by a marriage partner prior to a divorce settlement or division of property voids alimony requirements in nearly all cases. Under the newest proposal, Judges would have more discretion in awarding alimony in cases involving adultery under a bill sent to the House.
The proposed new language reads as follows: “No alimony may be awarded a spouse who commits adultery before the earliest of these two events: (1) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement, or (2) 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. However, if the adultery does not occur until after one year from the date of the filing of an action for divorce or separate maintenance and support, the court may award alimony or separate maintenance and support if it finds that the adultery did not materially affect the economic circumstances of the parties or did not materially contribute to the breakup of the marriage.” A copy of the bill as it passed the South Carolina Senate can be found here (last visited March 12, 2006, reo).