While it’s preferable that your divorce not be contested, the truth is that many of the divorces in South Carolina enter the Family Court system are contested for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you and your spouse can’t agree on child custody, division of property, or alimony.
A contested divorce in South Carolina is one that:
- Maybe based on any of the five grounds for divorce that are legally accepted
- There is at least one or more issues, such as grounds, custody, visitation, child support, alimony or property division that you and your spouse can’t agree on, and must be decided by a South Carolina Family Court Judge.
What Is Involved in a Contested Divorce in Greenville, South Carolina?
Every South Carolina divorce whether contested or not begins with a Summons and Complaint by you or your spouse and an answer filed by the other party.
South Carolina contested divorces are more complex than an uncontested divorce because you and your spouse have not been able to resolve all the issues that are part of a divorce. Your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will more than likely send out such things as interrogatories, request for production of documents, and maybe even do a deposition, depending on how many issues you and your spouse are not able to agree on.
While this is going on, your Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorney will try to pursue a settlement before your case goes to trial in a South Carolina Family Law Court.
Timeframe for a Final Divorce in a Contested Divorce Case in South Carolina
While there is no specific way to determine how long it will take to get your final divorce in a case of contested divorce in South Carolina, suffice it to say, it could take a year to 18 months for your South Carolina contested divorce case to wind its way through the Family Court.
If the unresolved issue in your contested divorce is property division, it can take some time to get together a list of marital assets to be reviewed by the South Carolina Family Law Judge at the time of trial.
If you and your spouse’s contested issue has to do with child custody, it will take a bit of time to have a Guardian Ad Litem appointed and for them to do interviews and home visits. Once those have been completed, the Guardian Ad Litem will have to report back to the South Carolina Family Court.
Calculating Attorney Fees in a Contested Divorce in South Carolina
In cases where your South Carolina divorce is not contested, many Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorneys charge a flat fee. However, if your divorce is contested, then your attorney will probably bill you by the hour.
Generally speaking, there are two components to the fee structure for a contested divorce in South Carolina. There is the down payment, sometimes referred to as a retainer fee that is charged when your South Carolina divorce lawyer begins representing you. This amount is usually will cover all time and expenses to get your contested divorce to trial in front of a South Carolina Family Court Judge.
Next, there will be a monthly invoice sent to you. If your South Carolina divorce attorney is required to litigate the divorce uses up all your retainer fee, then you will be billed at the hourly rate for the time spent every month.
The Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorneys at Briggs Law Firm will explain everything to you in your initial consultation. They will try to determine how complicated your contested divorce case is going to be and come up with the appropriate retainer amount and also discuss all payment options with you.
Call the Greenville, South Carolina divorce lawyers at the Briggs Law Firm so you can ensure that your rights and needs are protected during your contested divorce.