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.