When you get in a car accident, you worry that the accident will lead to your car insurance premiums increasing, especially if the accident was your fault.  The car insurance companies use objective measures to determine who was at fault for the accident. In most divorces, it is much less clear who is at fault; most of the time, it takes two people to ruin a marriage.  

In the 1970s, states began to allow no-fault divorce, where you could get divorced for “irreconcilable differences,” in other words, just because you and your spouse no longer get along.  While South Carolina recognizes no-fault divorce, which accounts for the majority of divorce cases, it also assigns fault to one or the other spouse in certain instances. Whether you file for divorce with or without alleging that the breakup of the marriage is your spouse’s fault can affect how the divorce process works and what the outcome will be.  A South Carolina divorce lawyer can help you decide whether allegations of the fault should play a role in your divorce.

No-Fault Divorce

South Carolina courts will grant you a divorce simply because you and your spouse no longer wish to be married to each other.  Some couples even file their divorce petition together in an uncontested divorce. To file for a no-fault divorce, the couple must have been living separately for at least a year before either of them files the divorce petition.  In a no-fault divorce, the courts make decisions about alimony simply based on the spouses’ financial resources and needs relative to each other; they do not consider one spouse less deserving simply because the divorce was that person’s fault.

When the Divorce Is One Person’s Fault

In a fault divorce, the spouse petitioning for the divorce alleges that the other spouse is at fault for breaking up the marriage.  South Carolina recognizes the following grounds for fault divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Desertion (moving out of the marital home against the petitioner’s wishes)

Fault divorces do not require the couple to be separated for a year before filing for divorce.  You can file for divorce at the first instance of physical abuse or as soon as you catch your spouse cheating on you or using illegal drugs.  Because they do not require a one-year separation before the divorce petition, fault divorces usually o more quickly than no-fault divorces. If you file for a fault divorce, your ex may lose his or her right to receive alimony if the court agrees with you that the divorce is your ex’s fault.  Alimony considerations play a role in many people’s decisions to pursue fault or no-fault divorce.

Contact Briggs Law Firm About Divorce Cases

Fault and no-fault divorces both have their advantages and disadvantages; a South Carolina family law attorney can help you decide which type of divorce is right for your family.  Contact Briggs Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina to discuss your case.

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