I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
There are many factors that go into an alimony award, but one of the most important is whether the spouse making the request has sufficient income to meet their needs - not necessarily the bills of both you and your husband, just yours. That's your starting point. Also keep in mind that alimony is not automatically awarded in every case, and it doesn't always go to the wife. But the judge also has to look at your husband's ability to pay, and if he's unemployed, he may not be able to give you any money on an ongoing basis. Courts are also most likely to award alimony when the spouses have been together 10 years or more.
SC Code of Laws, Section 20-3-130 lays out the factors the judge must consider.
(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance action between the parties;
(2) the physical and emotional condition of each spouse;
(3) the educational background of each spouse, together with need of each spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouse's income potential;
(4) the employment history and earning potential of each spouse;
(5) the standard of living established during the marriage;
(6) the current and reasonably anticipated earnings of both spouses;
(7) the current and reasonably anticipated expenses and needs of both spouses;
(8) the marital and nonmarital properties of the parties, including those apportioned to him or her in the divorce or separate maintenance action;
(9) custody of the children, particularly where conditions or circumstances render it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home, or where the employment must be of a limited nature;
(10) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce or separate maintenance decree if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage, except that no evidence of personal conduct which may otherwise be relevant and material for the purpose of this subsection may be considered with regard to this subsection if the conduct took place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of (a) the formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement or (b) 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;
(11) the tax consequences to each party as a result of the particular form of support awarded;
(12) the existence and extent of any support obligation from a prior marriage or for any other reason of either party; and
(13) such other factors the court considers relevant.
As far as the settlement goes, you're entitled to an equitable distribution of any award received for an accident that occurred during the marriage. In Marsh v. Marsh, 437 S.E.2d 34 (1993), the Supreme Court of South Carolina held that this is marital property, and it will be split like any other marital asset. Equitable distribution starts with the presumption that assets will be split 50/50, but if you were paying all the bills during the marriage, you could ask for reimbursement of half that money before the rest is divided. The judge is looking for the most fair way to split assets, and if your husband was too sick to contribute to the marriage at all because of your accident, it's only fair that you would get more in recognition for your contribution.
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