COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Divorcees in South Carolina, left writing checks to their ex-spouses for the rest of their lives, want to end that permanent alimony- a life sentence, as they call it.
It's a situation many are in: forced to pay into their golden years, even after remarrying and moving on with their new family - and they want the state law to change.
Alimony reformers - or the divorcees in South Carolina - have not been strangers to these Statehouse grounds over the past few years. They're still trying to end permanent alimony. They say it's criminalizing divorce and handing down a life sentence in the form of mandatory, high payments to the ex-spouse.
You may have noticed billboards by South Carolina highways, preaching their message. Divorce attorneys say that alimony payments can range from $25 or $50 each month, to $39,000 each month - and when a judge awards permanent alimony, it doesn't end until death or until the one receiving the payment remarries.
Wyman Oxner, who founded the group SC Alimony Reform, says this effects retirement for members of his group that people have even been jailed when they cannot physically work and therefore cannot afford the payments.
"The alimony laws are set up in such a way that if you get hurt and can't work or you become too feeble to work [and] if you can't pay alimony that is your problem and you will go to jail," Oxner said. "And I don't think anyone should be sentenced- they pretty much criminalize divorce in South Carolina because you go to jail if you don't pay it."
A bill in the Statehouse would have changed the system by allowing an option for a fixed or more limited alimony, and barred it from dipping into retirement income like social security.
But it didn't pass.
May 2018 marked the end of a two-year legislative session, so the group will have to start from scratch again in January. They want to hold a rally here in November.