Today's debate is about whether adultery should be considered differently during a period of separation. Current law eliminates alimony if adultery occurs prior to the final divorce. A Democrat amendment allows for adultery after a year from the initial filing. The reason for this amendment is because of some situations wherein one spouse who might have been unfaithful for years and is facing a stiff alimony drags out the proceedings and perhaps even sets up his spouse to do something that gives the impression of a mistake and thereby that spouse loses their alimony.
I do not argue that these situations occur. I do argue, however, that the South Carolina General Assembly should not be in the business of saying adultery is permissible regardless of the circumstances. Currently, trial attorneys tell their clients to behave until the final divorce lest they lose their alimony. The changes today will in effect remove that admonition. Not only would this endorse adultery, it would greatly reduce the already slim chances of reconciliation. We fought this amendment, but unfortunately failed. The family court reform has lots of good items, but this portion is serious blow to the sanctity of marriage.