Recrimination is an affirmative defense frequently raised in divorce proceedings as a defense to a request for a fault divorce. The gist of recrimination is a claim that even if that spouse committed acts giving rise to a ground for a fault divorce, the other spouse also engaged in acts giving rise to a ground for a fault divorce, and therefore no fault divorce should be granted. Recrimination is not a defense to an action for divorce based upon one-year’s separation. S.C. Code Ann. § 20-3-10(5).

As an affirmative defense, recrimination must be raised in a pleading to be raised at trial. See, Rule 8(c), SCRCP. “As a general rule, to constitute the defense of recrimination, the misconduct of which the plaintiff is guilty must be such as to provide the defendant with grounds for divorce.” Allen v. Allen, 287 S.C. 501, 339 S.E.2d 872 (Ct. App. 1986).

Unlike condonation, another frequently pled affirmative defense to divorce in South Carolina, successfully establishing recrimination does not prevent alimony from being barred by adultery. Spires v. Spires, 296 S.C. 422, 373 S.E.2d 698 (Ct. App. 1988).

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