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Divorce in South Carolina

Divorce in South Carolina



In the last ten years, South Carolina’s divorce laws and regulations have evolved significantly, reflecting the state’s commitment to modernize its legal framework while ensuring fairness, transparency, and the well-being of families involved in divorce proceedings. This article provides a concise overview of key changes in South Carolina’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Introduction

   – Introduction of no-fault divorce option, allowing couples to seek divorce without assigning blame.

2014: Child Custody Best Interests Focus

   – Emphasis on child custody factors focused on the best interests of the child.

2015: Marital Property Division Guidelines

   – Clearer guidelines for the division of marital property during divorce.

2016: Alimony Award Considerations

   – Consideration of various factors when determining alimony awards.

2017: Child Support Calculation Updates

   – Updates to child support calculations to better reflect changing financial needs.

2018: Mediation Promotion

   – Encouragement of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method.

2019: Parenting Plans Enhancement

   – Introduction of enhanced parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and support arrangements.

2020: Digital Divorce Filing

   – Introduction of digital options for filing divorce petitions, enhancing accessibility.

2021: Collaborative Divorce Emphasis

   – Emphasis on collaborative divorce methods to reduce adversarial litigation.

2022: Online Divorce Resources

   – Provision of online resources to guide individuals through the divorce process.

2023: Spousal Maintenance Adjustments

   – Consideration of adjustments to spousal maintenance guidelines.

South Carolina’s ongoing efforts to modernize divorce laws underscore the state’s commitment to supporting families through challenging times while upholding principles of fairness and justice. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it remains essential for stakeholders and the public to engage in discussions that prioritize the well-being of families navigating divorce.

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:

• Adultery

• Physical abuse

• Continual drug or alcohol abuse

Legal Separation

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.

Spousal Support

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

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.