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Wood Side Review

4782 words - 20 pages

Woodside v. Woodside, 350 S.E.2d 407 (Ct. App. 1986)
Court of Appeals of South Carolina. Shirley M. WOODSIDE, Appellant-Respondent, v. Archie G. WOODSIDE, Jr., Respondent-Appellant. Shirley M. WOODSIDE, Respondent, v. Archie George WOODSIDE, Jr., Appellant. Shirley McRoberts WOODSIDE, Appellant, v. Archie George WOODSIDE, Respondent. No. 0816. Heard Sept. 17, 1986. Decided Nov. 3, 1986. Action was brought for divorce. The Family Court, Lexington County, Marc H. Westbrook, J., entered divorce decree and both parties appealed. The Court of Appeals, Cureton, J., held that: (1) permanent periodic alimony award was inadequate; (2) child support award was not abuse of discretion; (3) trial court ...view middle of the document...

We affirm in part, reverse in part and remand. The parties separated in 1983 after nineteen years of marriage. They have three children, one of whom is emancipated. The wife is 43 years of age and the husband is 42. Both parties are well educated. The husband earned a Ph.D. degree from Pennsylvania State University and the wife an M.A. degree from the same institution. The parties enjoyed a high standard of living. At the time of the divorce hearing, the husband was a full professor at the University of South Carolina. He also earned other income from conducting seminars, writing books, and operating a consulting firm through a close corporation called ARC Consultants, Inc. The wife taught at the University of South Carolina from 1975 until 1983. The wife was awarded a divorce on the ground of adultery. The husband admitted to an adulterous relationship with one of his students. The wife, however, does not appear

to have been blameless in the marital breakup. She admitted that she had been suggesting a divorce for five years. I. ALIMONY The trial judge ordered the husband to pay the wife $600.00 per month as permanent alimony and $600.00 per month for five years as rehabilitative alimony. Both parties concede that it was improper to award rehabilitative alimony. We therefore reverse that award.

[1] The wife argues that the permanent alimony award was inadequate, while the husband argues it was excessive. We agree with the wife, and find the $600.00 per month permanent alimony award to be inadequate. *370 The wife earned over $18,000.00 as an instructor at the University of South Carolina in 1982. The trial judge found that she had a potential to earn $18,000.00 per year. Her net monthly income was only $545.00 at the time of the divorce hearing. The judge found that she was not earning at her capacity. According to the husband's financial declaration and Federal tax return, his 1983 gross earnings were $85,000.00. **410 The wife disputes the husband's represented earnings and instead asserts that his earnings were closer to $115,000.00. The trial judge found that the husband's earned income was $85,000.00 in 1983 from three jobs, but concluded that he could not continue that pace for long.

[2] [3] [4] The real disagreement the parties have about the husband's income stems from the fact that he operates his consulting firm through a corporation called ARC Consultants, Inc., of which he owns a ten percent stock interest. The remainder of the stock is owned by the parties' children. The wife claims that the corporation's income should be constructively allocated to the husband. To support this contention, the wife introduced the testimony of a certified public accountant. When asked on cross examination why he would disregard the corporate structure and allocate its income to the husband, the CPA replied that since the husband was the operator of the consulting business, “he had some flexibility as to where” he placed the earnings of the...

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