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2011-UP-110 - Jackson v. Jackson

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Sandra Kay Jackson, Respondent,

v.

Franklin Jackson, Appellant.


Appeal From Cherokee County
Jerry D. Vinson, Jr., Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-110
Submitted March 1, 2011 – Filed March 16, 2011


AFFIRMED


William G. Rhoden, of Gaffney, for Appellant.

Noel Turner, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Franklin Jackson (Husband) appeals the family court's order awarding Sandra Kay Jackson (Wife) half of the marital estate and $1,975 in monthly alimony.  We affirm.[1]

1. As to whether the family court erred in awarding Wife half of the marital estate: The family court properly considered the relevant factors in apportioning the marital property and made extensive written and oral findings regarding these factors.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-620 (Supp. 2010); Doe v. Doe, 370 S.C. 206, 213, 634 S.E.2d 51, 55 (Ct. App. 2006) ("The division of marital property is in the family court's discretion and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion.").  Additionally, the record contains evidence supporting each of those findings. 

Husband's argument that the family court placed an extensive amount of weight on the length of marriage is without merit.  The duration of the marriage is a factor the family court must consider.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-620(1). Furthermore, Husband failed to demonstrate special circumstances that would merit a deviation from the equitable division of the marital property.  SeeAvery v. Avery, 370 S.C. 304, 312, 634 S.E.2d 668, 672 (Ct. App. 2006) (holding if a party can show special circumstances the family court can tilt "the equitable division scale in favor of one spouse").  Although Husband contributed more financially than Wife, both parties contributed financially to the marital estate.  Additionally, Wife served as the primary caretaker of the home and child.   Moreover, Husband was in a better financial position because he was still employed and planned on working until he reached full retirement. 

2. As to whether the family court erred in awarding Wife $1,975 in monthly alimony:  The family court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Husband to pay Wife $1,975 in monthly alimony.  See Davis v. Davis, 372 S.C. 64, 79, 641 S.E.2d 446, 453-54 (Ct. App. 2006) ("An award of alimony rests within the sound discretion of the family court and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion.").  In awarding Wife alimony, the family court considered the length of marriage, Husband's and Wife's ages and health, educational background and employment history of each spouse, their standard of living, anticipated earnings and expenses of each spouse, and marital and non-marital property.  The family court properly considered the relevant factors in determining the amount of alimony, and the record contains evidence supporting each of those findings.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-130(C) (Supp. 2010); see also Davis, 372 S.C. at 80, 641 S.E.2d at 454 ("Our inquiry on appeal is not whether the family court gave the same weight to particular factors as this court would have; rather, our inquiry extends only to whether the family court abused its considerable discretion in assigning weight to the applicable factors."). 

Additionally, Husband's argument that the alimony was excessive is without merit because the alimony would provide Wife with sufficient funds to cover her expenses and it did not provide her with significant additional funds.  Furthermore, Husband's argument that Wife is not entitled to alimony because she has inherited a home and has received a significant marital estate is unpersuasive.   The purpose of alimony is to ensure Wife is in the similar position as she experienced during her marriage.  Currently, Wife's only monthly income is $1,057 in social security benefits, but her expenses total over $2,500, leaving her a deficit of $1,465 per month.  Accordingly, the record supports a finding that alimony is necessary to maintain her lifestyle.  Furthermore, the family court noted that it adjusted Husband's alimony requirements due to Wife's inherited property. 

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, SHORT, and PIEPER, JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.