South Carolina Alimony Reform

South Carolina Alimony Reform We are a non-profit state organization dedicated to changing the archaic alimony laws in South Carolina. We are a state non-profit organization dedicated to changing the archaic alimony laws in South Carolina.

Mission: Our mission is to make the alimony laws more fair and just in South Carolina. Our goal is to change the permanent alimony laws to a limited duration alimony with a safety valve for those with physical or mental disabilities that really need it.

Operating as usual


SC Alimony Reform asks for your support for our four bills, 1087, 1115, 1169, and 1170, that are now on the Senate floor. It is time to update the archaic permanent alimony laws in SC. The current alimony laws are so out of balance that one side (the payee) receives a lifetime income and many times enjoys virtual retirement while the other side (the payer) receives a future lifestyle of hard labor and possible jail time hanging over their head for the rest of their lives if they ever fail to make their alimony payments. Can you imagine having to continue to work into your 70's, 80's, and 90's with no chance to ever retire because you are forced to support another person for life? No one should have to pay another person for the rest of their life simply because their marriage failed. It's not a gender thing...permanent alimony is just wrong. Please contact your Senator and ask for support for these bills. One Senator can block these bills and keep the Senate from voting on them. The only reason for doing that is because they think the bills would receive a majority vote of approval and become law. Every bill should have the right to an up or down vote. When one Senator blocks a bill from being voted on it is like saying " I will take my ball and go home". It is not fair to the citizens of SC to block a bill that has been worked on for long weeks and months just because you can. Let these bills have an up or down vote!!!


The 2016 SC Legislative Session begins on Tuesday January 12. If you would like to help us change the permanent alimony laws in SC just click the "Contact Us" button located above. Then click "Test Button" to automatically go to our web site and join us in fighting for permanent alimony reform. Once you get to our web site just click the "Join Our Cause" button in the top left corner, fill out your information, and send it to us. We need people who really want to get involved and help us. Helping us helps you. This is an all volunteer organization. No one is paid in our organization. We are simply a group of people who are paying lifetime permanent alimony and think that the current alimony laws are unfair and unjust. No one should have to pay another person for the rest of their life simply because their marriage failed. Most of our our members will never be able to retire due to lifetime alimony payments. We have members in their 80's who cannot find work and are behind on their payments. It is very likely that they will face jail time due to circumstances that are beyond their control. Please join us and help us fight this for this very just cause!!

You can also join us by going to our web site at

Thank you all for your support.


The new legislative session will begin next Tuesday, January 11th. I will be meeting with Representative Ralph Norman in the next week or two to discuss how we will proceed this year. Our bill, H-4029, received first reading in the House last year and the bill does move forward after first reading with the next step being assigned to a subcommittee in the Judiciary (normally). If the bill is unable to be debated by the subcommittee, reported out to the House floor for debate, passed and submitted to the Senate prior to May 1 (commonly referred to as the crossover date) then the bill does die since we are in the 2nd year of a two year cycle with elections this year for the House & Senate. I believe that it will be passed on to the sub-committee as it has for the last 2 years. As you all know, the wheels of justice move slowly and it takes perseverance to accomplish anything in government. We will prevail if we persevere.


I want to thank everyone for your donations to our advertising request. We have secured billboards in Greenville, Charleston, and Columbia which will be displayed on January 15 thru the middle of March. This will be at the beginning of the legislative session and run through the middle of it. This is the best way to get their attention.

We would like to put up at least one billboard in Myrtle Beach, but we have no more funds to do so. I hesitate to ask for more donations, but If you would like to contribute to this cause, please send a check made out to SC Alimony Reform to the following address:

SC Alimony Reform
878 Heyward Dr
Orangeburg, SC 29118


We have now secured billboards in the Columbia area that will be put into place in January and February. We are currently seeking to place billboards in the Greenville area and, possibly, run some radio ads. We will also be looking into the Charleston area for billboard advertising. All of this will between January and April. Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this very worthy cause. The legislature reconvenes in January and we must remain vigilant if we want to see any changes to permanent alimony laws. The permanent alimony laws must change in South Carolina and this could well be the year that we secure some significant changes. If you wish to join our organization and help us change the laws please click the "Contact Us" button next to the picture of the Capitol at the top of this page, then click the "Test Button". This will take you to our web page and you can click the "Join Our Cause" button in the top left hand corner of the page. We are an all volunteer organization. If you are paying permanent alimony join us and help us help you!


We now have billboard posters in the Charleston area. One is located at Ashley Phosphate and Cross County Roads and the other one is at Rivers and Remount Roads. Hopefully, we will draw much interest from the Charleston area.

We should be hearing from the Alimony Study Committee within the next 30 to 45 days. It will consist of 3 Senators and 3 House Representatives. Our members can attend and give their testimony about the financial and emotional hardships that permanent alimony causes in their personal lives. Please contact Linda Anderson at [email protected] and ask her to notify you of the times and dates of the study committee. I hope that you can attend these meetings.

It is very important that each of our members do this so the legislators will know that we are 100% behind the push for alimony reform. Even if you cannot attend the meetings, when they hear from each of us, it puts pressure on them to make changes. If we do nothing, they do nothing.


We are busy trying to reach people who are paying permanent alimony. It is important to grow our membership in order to put pressure on our legislators to change the permanent alimony laws to a more fair and just system. The more people we have in our organization, the more influence we can have. We are currently running ad spots on 107.5 FM (The Game) in Columbia. The ads will run through this Sunday. If you wish to join us and help us change the permanent alimony laws in SC, please go to our web site at:

Thank you to all of our members for your support.


SUCCESS! Our bill, H-3215 was signed by Governor Haley on June 1! A study group will be formed consisting of 3 Senators and 3 House Representatives. They will begin meeting in September or October and will wrap things up by December 31. Hopefully, they will come up with some proposals that are acceptable to our organization. I am on the notification list, so they will let me know once they begin and some of our members will attend these meetings and give our suggestions. Thank you to all of our members who helped make this happen. We are looking forward to the next legislative session in January.


Our bill, H-3215, which is a bill to create a task force to study the current alimony laws and then create proposals to make the current alimony laws more fair and just for everyone, has been ratified and is now awaiting Governor Haley's signature. Many thanks to the legislature for making this happen and to our members who have been writing the legislators to urge them to pass this bill.

It is time to call the all of the Senators. We do not have to call the Senators that are already on our side. They will ...
South Carolina Legislature Online - Member Biography

It is time to call the all of the Senators. We do not have to call the Senators that are already on our side. They will be voting on our bill, H-3215, tomorrow. We are on page 33 of the agenda. That is close to the bottom of the agenda. Please call their offices and ask them to approve our bill and pass it into law and send it to Governor Haley for her signature.

Click on this link to access the members of the full Senate:

Here is a list of the Senators offices that we need to call. Please let them know if your a constituent. We don't know if these Senators support us or not so they need to hear from us!!


Thomas C. Alexander
Sean Bennett
Kevin L. Bryant
Paul G. Campbell, Jr.
Raymond E. Cleary, III
John E. Courson
Ronnie W. Cromer
Tom Davis
Michael L. Fair
Lawrence K. "Larry" Grooms
Robert W. Hayes, Jr.
C. Bradley Hutto
Darrell Jackson
Marlon E. Kimpson
Hugh K. Leatherm

Joel Lourie
Gerald Malloy
John W. Matthews, Jr.
Floyd Nicholson
William H. O'Dell
Harvey S. Peeler, Jr.
Clementa C. Pinckney
Glenn G. Reese
Nikki G. Setzler
Vincent A. Sheheen
Daniel B. "Danny" Verdin
Kent M. Williams



Enter your information and you will find your State Senator.

Please send an e-mail to your personal Senator in addition to calling his office. In the subject column type "Constituent".

Thank you all for your support for your cooperation and support. The legislators have heard you and they need to keep hearing from you until this is passed.

If you would like to read the bill, H-3215, and follow it through the House and Senate please click on the link below:ht...
South Carolina Legislature Online - Search

If you would like to read the bill, H-3215, and follow it through the House and Senate please click on the link below:

To whom was referred a Joint Resolution (H. 3215) to create a study committee to reform alimony, to provide for membership of the study committee and the method of appointment of members, to require the study committee, etc., respectfully


GREAT NEWS!!! Our bill, H3215, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee YESTERDAY and has now moved to the Senate floor.
Thank you to all of our members for their support in writing to the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We could not do any of this without their support.


Great News!!!

I received this letter from Senator Larry Martin's office today:

Mr. Oxner:

I wanted to be sure you were notified that 3215 polled out of the Senate subcommittee on May 7, with a favorable report. It is on the Judiciary Committee agenda for this Tuesday, May 12. It’s expected to receive a favorable vote from the committee also.

Have a good weekend!



Cindy Ledbetter

Office of Senator Larry A. Martin

Senate Judiciary Committee

P.O. Box 142

Columbia, SC 29202

(803) 212-6610

(803) 212-6600 Fax

Success!!! Our bill, H-3215, was approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday and will now move to the Senate f...
South Carolina Legislature Online - Committee

Success!!! Our bill, H-3215, was approved by the House of Representatives last Tuesday and will now move to the Senate for approval. If we can get this bill approved by the Senate before the crossover date of June 1, it will then go to Governor Haley to be signed into law. I urge everyone to contact your State Senators immediately and urge them to pass this bill before the crossover date.

Please follow these instructions carefully:

1.) Click on this website to access the Senate Judiciary Committee:

2.) on "Judiciary" or just scroll down to the Judiciary page.

3.) Click on "Contact" to send a blanket e-mail to each Senator all at once.

4.) Click on each Senator's name to find contact information and call each Senator's office and ask to adopt House bill H-3215 into the Senate and support it.

5.) Please make sure you contact your own Senator and ask for their support by e-mail and by phone. When you e-mail your personal Senator be sure and type "Constituent" in the subject line and "Support SC Alimony Reform". You can find out who your personal Senator is by clicking on this web site and filling out your information:

Here is a copy of the e-mail that I sent in blanket form to the entire Senate Judiciary Committee. You can use it as a model for your own e-mail.

I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to adopt House bill H-3215 in the Senate and pass alimony reform for SC families. This is a very important bill designed to study the permanent alimony laws in SC and create a bill to make them more fair and just for all concerned...not just for those receiving alimony. So many people are having their lives ruined by being forced to pay permanent alimony to people who are fully able to work and sometimes choose not to seek employment because they are more than able to live a life of retirement. Meanwhile, many people paying alimony can never even consider retirement due to the burden of permanent alimony.

Please... DO NOT be offensive and remain positive as you ask for their support.



by Melissa Cash

His name is Joe. He is 81 years old and has been married to Rachel for 30 years now. They are on the brink of losing the home they have lived in and loved for decades. Why? It is not due to poor financial planning, nor reckless spending, nor bad investments. It is because life is unreliable especially when the permanent alimony Joe was ordered to pay his first wife when they divorced almost 34 years ago is leaving them destitute and desperate.
When Joe got divorced, the court awarded the wife the family home which was valued between $100,000 and $225,000 according to judicial records. A reasonable value could be most fairly determined by taking an average of those two amounts, which is $162,500. She also retained all the furnishings, valued at up to $85,000, a significant portion of the savings accounts, tax free bonds and child support for the two minor children still at home and permanent alimony of $1600 per month. That was in 1982. Today, an internet real estate site puts an off-market value of $1,038,300 on the home, which sits on a hill in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Greenville, SC. The house was free and clear when the wife took sole possession. Even if you discount the published value, taking an average real estate appreciation rate of 4.5% for the past 34 years, the house would still be worth upwards of $720,000. The home is over 2700 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths and is occupied by only one person, Joe’s ex-wife.
Joe paid $1600 per month for 29 years including the year they were separated. He has paid $1155 a month for the past 5 years. The amount he has paid in alimony thus far is over $626,000.
Until 2003, Joe worked 18 out of 24 hours a day for almost 5 decades at the small, but lucrative family grocery store his immigrant father founded after coming through Ellis Island from Lebanon. Joe’s father taught him well and the store thrived. It was his proudest effort. Neighborhood blight, high crime and the city’s plans for something better forced him to close and he lost not only his source of income and his life’s work, but the legacy his father left to him. Still he paid the alimony.
Joe is an old man now. He has suffered surgeries for lung cancer, a gangrenous gall bladder, which later required a colectomy, spinal surgery, knee surgery and is now going blind due to macular degeneration. In 2010, Joe petitioned the court to lower his alimony payments; they did, but only by $500. He still had to pay $1155 a month and his ex-wife’s attorney’s fees. In fact, many times he has been ordered to pay her fees for counsel as well as his own. He cannot go back to court anymore. He cannot afford to pay an attorney for himself, let alone for her as well.
Joe used to have significant assets; the store, income properties, a lake lot, retirement and savings accounts and of course, the home he and Rachel share. When he lost the income from his grocery store, he tried to find work, but he was already 70 years old and virtually unemployable. Gradually, the assets he owned were liquidated to pay their own expenses and of course, his first wife’s. Finally, with little left to sell that belonged to Joe; they had to mortgage their beloved home to the hilt to continue paying the alimony. Currently, their only source of income is the modest rent from two properties that Rachel owns and social security. It is not much considering the cost of living. Their mortgage payment went up, the taxes are higher and they can’t retain their home much longer. They don’t go out except to the doctor’s office, do not purchase new clothes, don’t eat as well as they used to and haven’t taken a vacation in over a decade. They worry every minute of every day about their future. The stress of this over the years has taken its toll on Rachel’s health as well. She is frail and tired and scared. Still, Joe must pay the alimony.
His ex-wife is in possession of real estate worth more than enough to provide for the rest of her life in a more than comfortable style, yet she will not sell. She collects not only her alimony, but her spousal benefit from Joe’s social security and seems financially in a better state than Joe. At least, she has options that Joe and Rachel do not.
Now, there is not enough money or perhaps, not enough time left for Joe to re-engage in what continues to be a losing battle in South Carolina. It is too exhausting, too risky, but I think both would take on the fight once more if given the option. Joe and Rachel’s story is not unique, but it is more poignant due to their age and the sacrifice they have suffered for too many years. Despite their desperation, their commitment to each other is palpable and when they speak of one another, there is nothing but kindness and respect and devotion. No matter what the outcome of their current plight, they will always have the safe haven they have created in each other and that is the comfort they will share no matter what. Yet, Joe must still pay the alimony.
Will there ever come a time when Joe will be relieved of this unfair burden? Probably not, yet his and others need their story told…and told…and told some more until someone in a capacity to do so, listens with empathy and courage enough to step forward to change an unjust system. No one is denying that rehabilitative alimony should not be awarded when needed, but it must have an end date. It must not last forever. Being ordered to pay permanent alimony is a cruel and not so unusual punishment in South Carolina. It is the archaic and arcane result of a system which provides not for the reasonable needs of a spouse for a reasonable duration, but relies more on the ability of the other to pay and pay forever. The rote response of many Family Law attorneys is “there is no need for alimony reform as there are protocols in place for modification and it is always up to judicial discretion” in South Carolina. The problem is, admitted or not, there is a problem with that conclusion. It is magical thinking to believe that all is well when permanent alimony has indeed, become the default award. I don’t know why and I can only presume that it is the simplest way to provide for the “supposed” more vulnerable party without intense calculation and complicated formulas. The failure in this status quo lies in that while trying to make sure one party’s financial future is permanently subsidized, the other’s is permanently compromised. The higher earning spouse in a South Carolina divorce has become conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to just pay permanent alimony because usually there are no other options given and the lesser earning party is just way too eager to receive it with no expectation or accountability that they should eventually be required to support themselves. It is rare that when a change of circumstance occurs for the payer, the courts will allow for adequate relief. Joe is a good example. He lost his business, was selling everything he had, was in very ill health and despite the ex-wife having significant assets, his alimony was not ended altogether, but only reduced to a still burdensome amount. I do not know of anyone with moral conscience who could think that an 81 year old man, who is sick and without adequate resources to provide adequately for his own needs, should be condemned to fulfill an obligation ordered long ago under vastly different circumstances; most egregious, when the beneficiary has sufficient means to provide for herself, if she just would.
So this is Joe’s story. There are thousands of others who suffer the frustration and desperation which comes from being financially shackled forever to a bad dream. SC Alimony Reform wants to be able to help Joe and Rachel and everyone else that is in their position, but we need your donations, your energy and courage, but mostly your voice to do it. Write your legislators, your newspaper editors, call your local television and radio stations and join our cause at
, but most importantly, just share their story with anyone who will listen. But for God, there go we.


878 Heyward Dr
Orangeburg, SC

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 14:00
Sunday 10:00 - 11:00


(803) 531-3002


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