Divorce is a difficult and emotional process for everyone involved. It can be especially challenging to navigate the legal system during this time. If you are considering ending your marriage in South Carolina, it is important to understand the various grounds for divorce available to you under state law and the necessary steps to achieve a court order of divorce. Having an experienced attorney on your side in this difficult time can make all the difference.
The most common grounds for divorce in South Carolina is the “no-fault” ground of “one year continuous separation.” This means that you and your spouse have been living separately for at least one year, with no hope of reconciliation. This is the simplest and most straightforward ground for divorce, as it does not require either party to prove fault or wrongdoing. Continuous separation requires that the two parties have not cohabitated the same home continuously for one full year.
Any other ground besides one year separation is referred to as a fault ground. One such fault ground for divorce in South Carolina is “adultery.” This means that one spouse has had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse. To prove adultery, the innocent spouse must present evidence of the affair, such as testimony from a witness or photographic evidence. This is a two-part process including: 1) opportunity; and 2) inclination.
“Physical cruelty” is another ground for divorce in South Carolina. This means that one spouse has physically harmed the other. The injured spouse must show evidence of the physical harm, such as medical records or police reports.
Lastly, “desertion” is another ground for divorce. This requires proof that one spouse has deserted the other for a period of one year or more.
At Sentinel Law Firm, we understand that each case is unique and the grounds for divorce can be complex. Our experienced attorneys will work with you to determine the best approach for your specific situation and guide you through the process. We are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective representation to our clients in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
If you are not ready or do not yet have grounds for divorce, a separation agreement can help resolve issues of child custody, property division, and spousal support until such time as a divorce can be obtained. A separation agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of your separation, including how property will be divided, who will have custody of the children, and how much spousal support will be paid. It is a way for you and your spouse to reach an agreement on these issues without going to court.
One of the main benefits of a separation agreement is that it can save you time and money by avoiding the need for a long and expensive court battle. It also allows you and your spouse to have more control over the outcome of the divorce, as you are able to come to an agreement on your own terms, rather than leaving it up to a judge to decide.
Another benefit of a separation agreement is that it can provide a sense of closure and finality to the end of your marriage. It allows you and your spouse to move on with your lives, knowing that the important issues have been resolved.
When considering a separation agreement, it’s important to consider that it must be fair and reasonable to both parties. It’s also important to note that the agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, and that it must be notarized. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have children, it’s essential that the agreement addresses their best interests.
If you do have grounds for a divorce, the process begins when one spouse files a complaint for divorce with the appropriate court. In South Carolina, the complaint must be filed in the county where either the Plaintiff (the spouse filing for divorce) or the Defendant (the other spouse) resides. Once the complaint is filed, it must be served on the Defendant. The Defendant then has 30 days to file an answer to the complaint.
The next step in the divorce process is the discovery phase. During this phase, both parties exchange information and documents related to their finances, assets, and debts. This can include things like bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and property deeds. The discovery process can be done through formal discovery methods such as interrogatories and depositions, or informally through requests for production of documents and requests for admissions.
After the discovery phase, the parties may try to settle the case through mediation or negotiation. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parties reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce. Mediation can be done with or without attorneys present. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, they will submit it to the court for approval.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial. During the trial, both parties will present evidence and testimony to the judge. The judge will then make a decision on the terms of the divorce, including issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, and division of property.
There are several legal considerations that may arise during a divorce proceeding in South Carolina. One of the most important is the division of property. Under South Carolina law, property is divided equitably, which means that the court will divide the property in a way that is fair to both parties. Factors that the court will consider when dividing property include the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of each party, and any separate property that either party may have.
Another important legal consideration is alimony. Alimony is the payment of money from one spouse to the other to support them after the divorce. In South Carolina, alimony can be awarded in several different forms, including bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and permanent alimony. The court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of each party, and the needs of the party receiving alimony when determining whether to award alimony and in what amount.
Child custody and child support are also important legal considerations in a divorce proceeding. Under South Carolina law, the court will make a determination of child custody based on the best interests of the child. Factors that the court will consider include the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent. Child support is calculated based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved.
In conclusion, divorce is a difficult and emotional process. It’s important to understand the legal process and the legal considerations that may arise during a divorce proceeding in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. If you are going through a divorce, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified divorce attorney who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights. At Sentinel Law Firm, we understand the challenges that come with divorce and we are here to help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Contact Sentinel Law today to schedule your consultation and learn more about the divorce process and how to best protect yourself, your family, and your assets today!