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Refusing Spousal Support / Alimony

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Nov 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

A recent article in the Huffington Post discussed some basic information about spousal support. The article was from a California family law attorney, so much of it concerned requirements specific to that state. However, one interesting aspect of the piece concerned refusal of spousal support/alimony and why some people might choose to reject spousal support that they might otherwise be entitled to receive.

Spousal support vs. child support

The first thing to discuss is the difference between spousal support (alimony) and child support. Both parents have a legal obligation to support their children, and it's not one that can simply be waived. No matter what, the parents are required to take some measure of financial responsibility for their children. The same is not true of spousal support. Spousal support in South Carolina is not calculated based on formulas or state-issued guidelines and, importantly, it is not mandatory. Alimony can absolutely be waived, and it is treated much differently than child support under the law.

Why would you refuse?

Now that you know spousal support can be waived/refused, what are the reasons someone might decide to do this? According to the recent Huffington Post article, one reason that people refuse alimony is because they believe they can support themselves sufficiently well on their own, despite what they might otherwise be entitled to receive from their former spouse. Another explanation is that some find spousal support offensive, in that it presupposes one adult is required to take care of the other. Finally, the most common reason why people may decide to refuse alimony is because it allows them to make a clean break from their ex and move forward without encumbering ties. Though it can be hard to walk away from money, in the end, it may actually be the best thing for some people.

Source: “Divorce Confidential: Alimony — Are You On The Hook?,” by Carolina Choi, published

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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