A brief guide to divorce in South Carolina
Couples experiencing marital difficulties who are thinking of separating temporarily or permanently in South Carolina should be aware of the following things:
South Carolina state divorce laws
To file for divorce in South Carolina, the plaintiff must have been a resident for at least a year. If both parties are residents, the plaintiff only needs to have lived in the state for three months before filing a complaint.
Grounds for divorce
Aside from those filing for no fault divorce in South Carolina, there are three grounds for which a spouse can file a petition for an at-fault divorce:
• Physical abuse
• Continual drug or alcohol abuse
Couples who are uncertain whether or not they wish to file for a divorce in South Carolina can apply for a marital settlement agreement. This allows spouses to live separately and abide by a set of guidelines concerning alimony, division of property and related matters. These rules can be enforced by a court.
Types of divorce
Couples who can agree to separate and on the terms of their divorce in North Carolina are filing an uncontested case. If a spouse does not consent to divorce or both parties cannot reach agreement on the terms of their separation, they will appear in court to have a judge resolve their contested divorce.
No fault divorce
Couples who wish to file for a no fault divorce in North Carolina must live apart for a minimum of one year before a petition for divorce can be filed. This procedure does not require wrongdoing in either spouse’s actions to be approved.
Steps in the divorce process
One spouse must file a complaint with the local family court. The defendant will then be officially served with a petition for divorce and can either agree to proceed or contest the charges. Court-appointed supervisors will help both parties negotiate the terms of their separation. If no resolution can be heard, a judge will rule on alimony, child custody and other areas of dispute.
Judges have a wide range of discretion when deciding if any temporary or permanent alimony should be awarded during hearings for divorce in South Carolina. Some factors they may consider include:
• The length of the marriage
• The age and health of both spouses
• Current income and expenses of both spouses
• Potential tax consequences
No alimony will be awarded to spouses who have committed adultery.
Child support guidelines are used to determine how much a non-custodial parent must pay. Some reasons these payments may be reduced or increased would be to account for extra educational cases or families with more than six children.
Fathers’ and mothers’ rights
Judges are not allowed to consider gender when assigning child custody in cases of divorce in South Carolina. The child’s wishes, as well as the outcome of the divorce trial, the parents’ religious beliefs and any charges of domestic violence, are the primary considerations taken into account.