Fault Divorce in Spartanburg South Carolina

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The Divorce Process in Spartanburg South Carolina

Navigating the process of fault divorce in Spartanburg, South Carolina, can be a challenging endeavor. At Sentinel Law Firm, we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant information about divorce cases in our state.

Our goal is to help you understand the complexities of this process. Our Spartanburg family lawyers dedicate themselves to providing you with the necessary details to navigate through the process successfully. Let our family law attorneys guide you through the entire process to find the best way forward for your specific case.

Understanding Types of Divorce in Spartanburg, South Carolina

If you are considering filing for a fault divorce in Spartanburg, SC, it is important to understand your options and rights. If you’re looking for a family lawyer in Spartanburg, Sentinel Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process and protect your interests.

In South Carolina, there are four grounds for fault divorce:

  • Adultery: The law defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. This can include elements of both physical and emotional adultery. If your spouse has committed adultery, it can also prevent them from receiving alimony in your divorce.
  • Physical cruelty: Any act or omission that causes bodily harm or the reasonable apprehension of bodily harm is physical cruelty. This can include physical violence, threats of violence, or intentional infliction of emotional distress. South Carolina does not recognize verbal or mental cruelty as a fault ground, but it is often used as evidence in a divorce.
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse: Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse is when someone consumes too much alcohol or drugs on a repeated basis. It is important to show that the use of drugs or alcohol are impacting other areas of the person’s life, such as friendships or work. There are several ways to prove habitual drunkenness or drug abuse, ranging from financial records to recent criminal charges.
  • Desertion: Desertion is the willful abandonment of one’s spouse for a period of at least one year. This means that one of the spouses has left the marital home and has no intention of returning. While this is technically it’s own “fault-based” ground for divorce, this is often treated the same as no-fault divorce.

It is important to note that the burden of proof is on the spouse who is filing for a fault based divorce. This means that they must provide evidence to the court that their spouse committed one of the acts listed above. The evidence can be in the form of witness testimony, photographs, medical records, or other documentation. Getting this information is not always easy and often requires use of a licensed private investigator.

If you are considering filing for a fault-based divorce, it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. If you can prove fault by the other party through one of these acts, it may impact the amount of court ordered alimony, child support, or even impact property distribution. A party being found at fault based on one of the grounds can also be used in determining a child custody arrangement through the impact it has on determining the best interests of the child.

In these cases, it is important not to wait, as an extended period of time between the fault grounds happening and filing with the family court can prevent evidence from being used, as it may indicate reconciliation of the marriage. A lawyer can help you determine whether a fault divorce is right for you, and they can assist you in filing for divorce with the family court and the drafting of a divorce agreement or parenting plan.

Man rubbing his wedding ring while struggling with a fault divorce
Breanna Compitello

“Every family and every custody case is different. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney that listens to you and learns your story.”

Advantages of At-Fault Divorces:

There are a few advantages to filing for a fault divorce. If the court finds a spouse at fault, they may order the at-fault party to pay more in alimony or child support. This can be helpful if you are the lower-earning spouse or have been the primary caregiver for your children. South Carolina also has an absolute bar on alimony for a spouse found guilty of adultery.

Second, if you have children, it may make it easier to obtain custody or visitation. This is because the court will consider the fault of the parents when determining the best interest of the child. This may be due to exposure to harmful risks, poor financial decisions, or simply a lack of effort shown by the other parent.

Finally, filing on fault grounds may make the process faster. This is because the court does not need to wait the required one-year separation period of a no-fault divorce to ensure the marriage cannot be recovered.

The Disadvantages of an At-Fault Divorce:

There are also some disadvantages to filing under grounds of fault. For starters, it can be more expensive than a no-fault divorce. This is because you will need to go typically need to go through the discovery process to be able to show how severe the problems were. You often also need to hire a private investigator to dig up evidence related to the fault grounds.

It can also be more emotionally draining, as you will have to relive the events that led to the divorce. Depending on the reason for divorce and age of the children, if any, this may require appointment of a Guardian ad Litem. In some situations, the children of the marriage may even have to testify.

Third, if you are found at fault, you may be ordered to pay alimony or child support.

If you are considering filing for a fault divorce, it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss your options. Schedule a consult with one of our divorce attorneys to help you figure out the best way forward in your particular case. 

Our Spartanburg Family Law Practice Areas

Divorce Law

Navigating the process of divorce in South Carolina

Child Custody

Assistance in Child Custody Matters in South Carolina

Child Support

Establishing fair support for children in divorced families


Understanding Spousal Support in South Carolina

FAQs -
Fault Divorce in Spartanburg South Carolina

The five grounds for fault divorce in South Carolina are adultery, desertion, physical cruelty, or habitual drunkenness or drug abuse.

No, South Carolina has both fault and no-fault based divorces. The two may start with similar filings, but they require very different things in order to be granted by the Court.

There is no perfect roadmap to divorce, but you must meet certain requirements in every case. In no-fault or desertion cases, this includes the parties living separate and apart for at least one year. For all other fault grounds, South Carolina requires at least ninety days between the filing of a Complaint and the Final Order of Divorce being granted.

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