South Carolina couples must live apart before spousal support can be awarded

Couples who are looking to divorce in South Carolina must first live apart before spousal support can be sought. While this law has been on the books for many years, a recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Court proves that there is no exception for spouses without incomes, The Associated Press reports.

The ruling came after a judge in family court dismissed Eileen Theisen’s request for alimony because, while divorced, she still lived under the same roof with her ex-husband. The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling.

According to the South Carolina Legislature, the state’s law prohibits divorce except in cases of adultery, desertion for a period of one year, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness or after the husband and wife have lived apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.

The court’s decision offers some clarity to an increasingly hazy issue, as many people have kept living together after a divorce due to the difficult economy. However, the ruling may not help stay-at-home caregivers like Theisen, according to a family law attorney, because they have no income stream to allow them to set up a separate household.