Divorce can be a devastating blow, or it can be an experience that frees one person from a bad situation. Even in those cases where a client knows they will “be better off,” it is an emotionally taxing time. The issues in divorce cases range from the simple to the very complicated. In addition to the act of dissolving a marriage contract the Court will resolve the following issues:
Division of real property, debts, finances, and assets
Understanding all of the issues and how the facts of your case impact any of the areas that are relevant to your case is important. A seasoned divorce/family court lawyer can help with that. No one plans for divorce when they get married, but when it happens being prepared for the long road ahead is essential for either party in a South Carolina divorce case. Knowing a good divorce attorney here in Anderson, SC can be all the difference in making sure your assets, children, and peace of mind are taken care of.
What are Grounds for Divorce in South Carolina?
When hashing out grounds for divorce the state of South Carolina will look for the following factors:
Habitual drunkenness or drug use
Separation without cohabitation for one year
The first three of these are called “fault grounds“, where one spouse places blame one another for ending the marriage. Technically, a divorce may be granted in SC on a fault basis, only 90 days after the filing. But in reality, if any issue in the case is contested, it will take much longer than 90 days.
In South Carolina, our one-year separation ground for divorce is often referred to as a no-fault divorce.
As you can imagine, when there are children, debts, property, and assets at issue, most folks do not want to wait a year to file for divorce. In those instances where the parties do not want to continue living together but neither has committed any of the fault ground offenses, then an action for Separate Support and Maintenance is an option.
Many people refer to this as a “legal separation.” In this action, the Court (or the parties by agreement) can determine custody, visitation, child support, division of property, division of debt and even alimony and attorney fees. If by agreement, the case can be resolved relatively quickly and would finalize the property, debt and asset issues with finality. After the one-year separation, either party can file an action for divorce.
If you are separated, contemplating a separation or your spouse is committing one of the fault grounds for divorce and you would like to consult with us about your options, please call for an appointment.
Property division in a South Carolina divorce
South Carolina is an equitable division state, meaning the Court is charged with dividing assets and debts fairly and reasonably. The first step is determining what is marital property and what is not. It is sometimes easier to identify non-marital assets.
These are assets that were owned before the marriage, gifted to one party by a family member, or inherited and kept separate from marital property. All items, regardless of how titled, purchased during the marriage are marital property. Identifying property as marital property means that the Family Court has jurisdiction to determine how that property is divided or to whom it will be awarded. Conversely, if a property is non-marital, the Family Court has no jurisdiction over that property.
Alimony and Spousal Support rules in South Carolina
Several types of alimony are available in South Carolina. Permanent periodic alimony is paid monthly and typically will not end until the death of either party or remarriage/cohabitation of the payee spouse. This type of alimony can be modified based on significant changes in financial circumstances. Lump-sum alimony is just what it sounds like; a lump sum is paid and that resolves all alimony claims. Rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for a while or an amount to get a spouse “back on their feet” so to speak.
“ALIMONY WILL NEVER BE AWARDED TO A SPOUSE WHO COMMITS ADULTERY. THE FINANCIAL STANDING OF EACH PARTY, NOR ANY OTHER FACTOR WILL CHANGE THIS HARD AND FAST RULE.”
At Thomason & Pracht, LLP, we not only have the experienced lawyers who can help you, but we also have a dedicated staff of assistants and paralegals who complete our team. We understand that this is an emotionally difficult time. We will do everything possible to educate you about your rights and responsibilities and work to obtain the best result possible. Call today for a free consultation.