What You Need To Know About Divorce Law:
South Carolina family law grants either Fault or No-Fault divorces when it comes to divorce law. Grounds for a Fault divorce must include adultery, physical abuse, or habitual alcohol or drug use, which directly impacted the success of a marriage, and desertion for at least one year. No-Fault divorce is granted if the parties continuously lived separately without cohabitation for at least one year.
During divorce proceedings, marital issues – including custody of children, child support, visitation, spousal support, marital asset and debt division – must be handled. Very rarely can a divorce case be approved without coming to agreements on these issues. It is also important to note that once a Final Order for Divorce is signed and filed, all aspects of marital dissolution are final and cannot be changed.
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What Are the Different Grounds for Divorce for South Carolina Divorce Law?
South Carolina laws are unambiguous as to the grounds for divorce in S.C. Code Section 20-3-10. Four out of the five grounds are fault-based and include:
- Physical Cruelty
- Habitual drug and/or alcohol abuse
- One year’s desertion
The fifth ground for divorce in South Carolina is the no-fault choice of separation for more than one year.
While you still can obtain a divorce in South Carolina on one of the above-listed grounds, more couples are opting for a no-fault option in their divorce proceedings.
What is a South Carolina No-Fault Divorce in Divorce Law?
The state of South Carolina, unlike some other states, does not recognize “irreconcilable differences” as a valid cause to obtain a divorce.
Because of this, your family law attorney may advise you that living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year is the only no-fault grounds for divorce.
This option is prevalent in South Carolina as many couples attempt to avoid the horrible fights that may come with blaming each other for the failure of their marriage. Rather than pin fault on you or your spouse, a no-fault divorce allows you both to accept responsibility without having to point fingers at each other.
How Does the Division of Property Work in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the courts use the equitable division approach to dividing instead of the community property approach used in some other states. Our Greenville divorce attorneys understand how to best guide you through the South Carolina equitable division approach.
What is Equitable Division of Property In South Carolina?
The first step in the equitable division of property is to first determine what property is separate or non-marital and what qualifies as a marital or joint asset. Separate property is considered to be any property that was owned by either of you before your marriage. Separate property includes any gifts either of you received during your marriage, such as an inheritance.
Separate property is not included in the equitable division of the property process. Keep in mind that equitable doesn’t always mean equal, but what is fair. A South Carolina judge may believe that one of you deserves a little bit more or less.
What About Our House?
If you have children, you may want to remain in the house with your children, but this may not be your best option. Your South Carolina divorce attorney will be able to advise you what you need to decide about the house, such as:
“Can you afford, maintain, and care for the house on your own?”
If it makes financial sense for you or your ex-spouse to stay in the house, then the other spouse will have to be compensated in some way for their share of the property. This can happen by either you buying your ex-spouse’s share of the house or using other joint assets to offset the other’s interest.
What is the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody of Our Children in South Carolina?
Our divorce lawyers understand that many people don’t realize that there are two types of custody: physical and legal.
Physical custody refers to the parent who has been given the responsibility to physically have your child at their home. Physical custody can either be given to just one of you or shared equally between you.
Legal custody refers to which of you have the legal ability to make decisions for your child on significant issues such as medical treatment, schooling, religion, extra-curricular activities, etc. Again, legal custody can be given to just one of you or shared between the two of you.
There’s no right or wrong way to divide up custody of your child as it depends on:
- The individual circumstances of your case
- What works for your family
- What is in the best interest of the child.
How Does South Carolina Determine Child Support?
In the state of South Carolina, the state legislature has taken any guesswork out of the child support process. Child support in South Carolina is mainly determined by a specific formula unless you have an exceptionally high income.
In general, child support in South Carolina is determined by taking any estimated expenses for the child and dividing those expenses between you and your ex-spouse, based on custody obligations and income.
How Long Will My South Carolina Divorce Take?
How long your divorce will take in South Carolina depends on a variety of factors, including:
- How complicated your individual case is;
- The jurisdiction of your case;
- The monetary amount at stake.
- If there are children; and,
- The relationship you have with your spouse.
While it may seem strange, you and your spouse’s ability to work together largely determines how long your South Carolina divorce can take.
Even though it’s your attorneys who are filing the paperwork and arguing in court, it’s up to you what motions may be filed or not filed on your behalf. In other words, the more you and your spouse can agree and not bicker over petty things, the quicker your divorce can proceed.
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What’s Next When It Comes To Divorce Law?
Don’t wait to find counsel in the event of a pending divorce. Divorce law is intricate and oftentimes, these intricacies can end up working against you if you are not receiving proper guidance. An experienced family law attorney will outline your case, and help you understand the level of proof needed to establish grounds for a divorce.
You are more than just a case to us. Let us help you successfully navigate this time in your life so that you can move forward swiftly. Schedule a comprehensive consultation by phone (864) 523-7738 or contact us online so our family law team at Bannister, Wyatt, & Stalvey can review your situation and decide on the next steps.
A minimum consultation fee of $300 is required on all family court matters. Please take a minute to read our Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: Am I required to pay child support if I don’t have any contact or visitation with my child or children?
A: Yes, all parents are required to pay child support regardless of how often you contact or visit your child or children. The only instance where this may not be necessary is if your parental rights have been terminated.
Q: Can the Department of Social Services (DSS) force me to submit to a drug test?
A: No, DSS does not have the right to force you to submit to a drug test; however, by refusing the test, it does give them a reason to suspect drug use in the home and they may seek the removal of any children.
Q: I have a court hearing requesting that I pay child support. What should I do?
A: Every situation and family court matter is unique. When possible, we recommend contacting an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate family court and ensure the best outcome for you and your children. Our family law attorneys are available to help. We require a minimum consultation fee of $300 on all family court matters. Schedule a comprehensive consultation by calling us today at 864-523-7738 or contact us online.
Q: We have an uncontested divorce and are in agreement on everything. What are the fees for an uncontested divorce?
A: While an uncontested divorce may feel like an open and shut matter, our attorneys give all family court matters a comprehensive review and consultation. We require a minimum consultation fee of $300 on all family court matters. Since divorce includes two parties, we can only represent one spouse in this instance.