If you are considering ending your marriage in South Carolina or have already made the decision to seek a divorce from your spouse, you should talk to family law lawyer to understand how the divorce and family laws work in South Carolina.
Briggs Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina handles both family and divorce cases and cannot only assist you in your divorce proceedings, but help you with other issues regarding alimony, your children, child support, child custody, and visitation.
Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina
The state of South Carolina recognizes five grounds for divorce. Four are fault grounds, and one is a no-fault divorce based on one (1) year of continuous separation, which requires that you and your spouse don’t live in the same house, under the same roof.
The five grounds for divorce in South Carolina are:
- One year of continuous separation
- Physical abuse and cruelty
- Habitual drug and alcohol use
- Desertion for a period of more than one (1) year.
The Divorce Process in South Carolina
To file for divorce in South Carolina, certain conditions apply:
- If you are the Plaintiff, you must be a South Carolina resident and must have lived in South Carolina for at least one year before filing for divorce.
- If you are the Plaintiff and not a resident of South Carolina, then your spouse/defendant must have been living in South Carolina for a period of one year.
- If both you and your spouse are residents of South Carolina when the divorce proceeding started, then you as the Plaintiff must have lived in the state only three months before the filing of your divorce.
Additionally, your case for divorce, or separate support and maintenance, must be heard in a court in the county:
- Where your spouse/defendant resides at the time the proceeding starts.
- Where you live if your spouse/defendant is a nonresident of South Carolina or after performing due diligence cannot be found, or
- Where you and your spouse last lived together as husband and wife unless you as the Plaintiff is a nonresident, in which case, the proceeding must be filed in the county in which the defendant resides.
Division of Property In South Carolina
In Greenville, and throughout the state of South Carolina, the family court will divide your marital property, and the assets and debts you have jointly acquired during your marriage at the time of your divorce.
Additionally, the equal division doesn’t always mean equitable distribution of your marital property, but it means fair distribution.
Child Custody In South Carolina
In Greenville and all of South Carolina, the family law judges will make their decision on child custody based upon what is in the best interest of the child(ren). When making a decision, they will look at many factors including, but not limited to:
- The temperament and developmental needs of all the children involved.
- Preferences of the child(ren)
- What the parents prefer as to custody.
- Any effort on the part of either parent to disparage the other in front of the child
- The stability of the child’s existing and proposed residences
- Cultural and spiritual background
- Mental and physical health of off people involved, except a disability of a proposed custodial parent or another person that can’t happen by itself, be the determining factor in custody.
- If one parent has relocated a distance of more than 100 miles from the child’s primary residence in the past year unless the parent relocated for safety reasons.
- Other factors as the Greenville, South Carolina family law court deems necessary.
Child Visitation in South Carolina
You and your ex-spouse may have an agreement when it comes to a child visitation schedule; however, if you and your ex-spouse can’t agree, then the South Carolina Family Court will issue an order regarding the child visitation schedule. If you or your ex-spouse violates this order, then that parent may be found to be in contempt by the South Carolina family court.
Child Support in South Carolina
In South Carolina family courts, a formula is used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid to the custodial parent. The guidelines will consider you and your ex-spouse’s incomes, the number of children, daycare, and health insurance costs.
Alimony in South Carolina
Either your or your ex-spouse can be awarded alimony in compliance with the South Carolina family court laws. In some cases, alimony can be paid periodically or in a lump sum depending on the circumstances involved. When deciding alimony, several factors are taken into consideration, including, but not limited to:
- How long you were married
- Your ages at the time you got married
- You and your ex-spouse’s physical and emotional conditions
- You and your ex-spouse’s educational background and the need, if any, for additional training or education to achieve that spouse’s income potential.
- The standard of living that was present during your marriage
- You and your ex-spouse’s current and anticipated earnings
- Current and anticipated expenses and the needs of both of you
- Marital and non-marital property of you and your ex-spouse
- Child custody
- Tax consequences of any alimony
- Support obligations of a previous marriage
- Other factors the South Carolina family court deems to be relevant
While your divorce is working its way through the South Carolina family court system, the judge may issue a temporary order for maintenance. The South Carolina family court may modify this order if you or your ex-spouse has a change in circumstances.
Additionally, the South Carolina family courts can provide for a few different types of alimony, including:
- Permanent, period alimony: This type of alimony will end on the death, remarriage, of the spouse receiving the alimony, or continued cohabitation of the spouse receiving alimony.
- Lump Sum Alimony: In this type of alimony a specific total sum is paid either in one payment or periodically over some time. It cannot be modified and ends on the death of the spouse receiving alimony.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony will terminate based upon the terms of the order by the South Carolina family court, remarriage or continued cohabitation of the spouse receiving alimony, or the death of either spouse.
- Reimbursement Alimony: This alimony ends if the spouse receiving the alimony gets remarried or has a continued cohabitation. Reimbursement ends on the death of you or your ex-spouse.
- Adultery: Adultery on your part will prevent you from receiving any alimony.
Call a South Carolina Family Lawyer Today
Choosing the right divorce and family law attorney to represent you is a critical decision. The Briggs Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina has the skill and experience in family court to make sure your rights are protected.