The S.C. Supreme Court made it clear Monday that couples seeking a divorce must live apart for one spouse to seek monetary support in the interim.
It’s a legal requirement that makes divorce more difficult to obtain in this economy, said family law expert Marcia Zug.
The justices said a Family Court judge was right to dismiss Eileen Theisen’s request for support as she sought a divorce from her husband of 30 years, because the two still lived under the same roof, though they slept in separate rooms.
Lawyers for the couple did not immediately return messages Monday. According to the decision, Theisen was a homemaker for most of their marriage and complained her husband had complete control of the couple’s assets.
The ruling was needed to clear up an unanswered question. Lawyers were advising clients based on an assumption of the justices’ take on state law, said Zug, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.